Reliable Positioning of Microscopes

For those needing microscope positioning systems with an accuracy of less than 100 nm, PI offers its wide range of solutions, for XY and Z stages. Both XY stages driven by ultrasound motors and equipped with controllers and joysticks and stages for manual positioning are available. In addition, PI also offers Z stages that can be mounted on the XY. These positioning systems are compatible with microscopes from major manufacturers.

by Maria Giulia Leone

Users are often faced with the challenge of combining seemingly conflicting requirements for the various parts that make up the positioning system of their microscopes. On the one hand, for exam-ple, it is necessary to cover large displacements at maximum speed, on the other hand, many micros-copy techniques require positioning accuracies far below 100 nm. A tried and tested way to meet both requirements is to combine XY axes with precision positioning stages. In order to make this possible, especially in relation to microscope holders from various manufacturers, PI has developed a product portfolio that also includes a wide range of sample holders.

With P-545 PInano®, it is possible to integrate long stroke intervals and nanometer precision posi-tioning.
With P-545 PInano®, it is possible to integrate long stroke intervals and nanometer precision posi-tioning.

The “Microscope Stage Configurator” shows the complete portfolio for inverse microscopes of XY stages, fine positioners and sample holders. It includes all relevant information to accurately com-bine all the individual subsystems and system components, including any adapter plates. All product overview pages can be accessed using the web version of the flyer. Detailed specifications on accu-racy, stroke, speed and much more can be found, as well as technical drawings with real size.

The U-760 PILine® stage offers strokes up to 25 x 25 mm, and is compatible with Nikon and Olympus reverse microscopes.
The U-760 PILine® stage offers strokes up to 25 x 25 mm, and is compatible with Nikon and Olympus reverse microscopes.

Motorized axes for long strokes with high movement speeds

At the heart of the overview there are the two U-780 PILine® and U-760 PILine® XY stages. Both are driven by low-profile ultrasonic motors using piezoelectric technology. The U-780 PI-Line® version is specific for Nikon Eclipse Ti / Ti2 microscopes or Leica DMI6000 / DMI8, and of-fers a wide range of action up to 135 x 95 mm. The version for Olympus stands IX, IX2 and IX3 offers a maximum stroke of 100 x 75 mm. The U-760 PILine® stage offers strokes up to 25 x 25 mm, and is compatible with Nikon and Olympus reverse microscopes. Both stages are offered as systems in combination with a dedicated controller (C-867.2U2) and a USB joystick. The motorized XY stage U-780 and U-760 are available for microscope stands from all major manufacturers and are supplied with a controller and a joystick.
For manual sample positioning, PI offers the XY stage of the M-545 microscope. This stage is moved using micrometric screws and offers strokes up to 25 x 25 mm. Thanks to a height of only 30 mm, the M-545 has a very low profile and is compatible with a large number of inverse microscopes from major manufacturers.

The bidirectional repeatability of both motorized XY stages is ± 250 nm.
The bidirectional repeatability of both motorized XY stages is ± 250 nm.

The bidirectional repeatability of both motorized XY stages is ± 250 nm. While this is more than enough for most inspections using confocal microscopes, the various technologies for high resolu-tion (“super-resolution”) microscopy require accuracies far below 100 nm. Depending on the needs (aperture, stroke range, resolution or bidirectional repeatability during positioning), PI offers differ-ent precision positioning systems. For example, the P-545 PInano® or the piezoelectric nano-positioning stage P-541, equipped with various sensors. The P-545 PInano®, as well as the other fi-ne positioning stages, can be easily combined with the U-780 and U-760 XY stages with simple screws. In this way, for specific applications, it is possible to integrate long stroke intervals and na-nometer precision positioning.

Z stages are also available

Many microscopy techniques require moving the sample in the Z direction, i.e. the optical axis of the microscope. Accuracy is often required in the order of less than 100 nm. PI offers Z stages that can be mounted on PILine® XY stages, suitable for the most important microscope stands and compat-ible with a variety of sample holders. If the samples are to be positioned with high precision in all three directions, the P-545.3R8S PInano® and the P-545.3D8S PInano® offer different specifica-tions. Alternatively, the microscope objective can be moved in the Z direction. PI offers many solu-tions for this purpose pertaining to the “PIFOC” family. Different specifications such as positioning accuracy, stroke, dynamics etc. can be chosen based on the application.

The range of suitable sample holders is as varied as experiments and routine laboratory tests. PI of-fers a complete portfolio of universal holders, holders for microtitration plates, Petri dishes and even slide holders. Thanks to the numerous variants, mechanical compatibility with XY stages and fine positioning stages is guaranteed.