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PicoQ® Sensors are Superior to Capacitive Sensors

Mad City Labs' implementation of our exclusive PicoQ® sensor technology minimizes position noise for the best positioning resolution in the industry. Our high performance stages have moved beyond the realm of nanopositioning into picopositioning, leaving former competitors behind. Legacy capacitive sensors cannot achieve picometer resolution. The position noise power spectrum of the Nano-METZ is shown below left. Positioners with PicoQ® senors exhibit noise floors in the femtometer/√Hz range and positioning resolution in the picometer range. Below right is a plot of the Nano-HS3M performing a 20 picometer peak-to-peak sine wave using the 20 bit DAC in the Mad City Labs USB interface, while the sensor is being rmeasured by the 24 bit ADC. The least signficant bit of the DAC is 5 picometers, and is clearly resolvable. Legacy capacitive sensors cannot measure anything at this level. Our competitors cannot produce similar data.

Picopositioner position noise power spectrum Picopositioner moving in 20nm sine with resolvable 5pm steps
Nano-METZ position noise power spectrum showing flat response at low frequencies with position noise floor of 400 femtometer/√Hz. (click to enlarge) Nano-HS3M Z-axis, input 20pm p-p 0.5Hz sine wave via Mad City Labs USB interface 20 bit DAC. Sensor measured using Mad City Labs USB interface 24bit ADC. Acquisition rate was 500Hz, averaged over 5 points. Measurement done in ambient conditions on a vibration isolation table with foam enclosure. (click to enlarge)

Application of Picometer Resolution - Direct Measurement of Calibration Standard

2D representation of 312 pm Si (111) atomic steps measured by AFM
312 pm Si (111) atomic steps detected using a picopositioner™ with PicoQ® sensor technology, measured by AFM.
Position noise is critical to the resolution of many applications including Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Mad City Labs metrology-class picopositioners™ can be used to build high resolution AFM systems that can detect picometer-scale features. Accurate measurements of single atomic steps in Silicon (111), shown to the left, demonstrate the capabilities of an AFM built with Mad City Labs picopositioners™. The measurement of atomic steps in Silicon (111) is a direct measurement of an established calibration standard. Additional AFM performance demonstrations are available.

For information regarding the issues of nanopositioner resolution, see the Laser Focus World article Understanding Noise at the Nanometer Scale. The article details the causes and limitations associated with nanopositioner resolution, and the processes involved in measuring it. The causes for these limitations are a result of the components of the nanopositioner as well as the surrounding environment, so it is important to consider all of the factors involved. In addition the article clearly demonstrates the superior performance of nanopositioners using our proprietary PicoQ® sensor technology compared to nanopositioners using capacitance sensors.

  • Unique low profile design
  • Extra large aperture for multiwell plates and incubators
  • 200 μm range of motion (XYZ)
  • Closed loop control
  • High stability

  • Optical microscopy, easy to retrofit
  • Optical trapping experiments
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Alignment
  • Single molecule spectroscopy
  • Super resolution microscopy
Nano-MTA Series
  • Up to 400 Hz high speed scans
  • One or two axis motion
  • 2mrad or 5mrad ranges of motion

  • Mount in any orientation
  • Closed loop control
  • High stability
  • High resolution nanopositioning
  • High performance and closed loop
  • Works with Akiyama probe or tuning fork

  • Versatile configuration options
  • Access to nanopositioning sensors for accurate positioning information
  • Includes MadPLL® controller and accessories
Nano-LPS Series : Lowest profile 3 axis nanopositioner
  • Lowest profile 3-axis nanopositioner available
  • Large aperture for standard 3" slides
  • 100 μm, 200 μm, and 300 μm ranges of motion (XYZ)
  • Closed loop control
  • High stability
  • Optical microscopy, easy to retrofit
  • Optical trapping experiments
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Alignment
  • Single molecule spectroscopy
  • Super resolution microscopy
RM21™ Microscope Platform
  • Designed for maximum user accessibility
  • Manufactured with high precision to allow easy alignment of microscopy and optical components
  • Robust design
  • Precision manufacturing and assembly
  • Particle tracking
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • TIRF

Nano-F Series: High precision lens positioners
  • Compact objective lens focusing element
  • Interchangeable, quick mount adapters
  • 100 μm or 200 μm ranges of motion
  • Compatible with all microscopes
  • Closed loop control
  • Microscope focusing element
  • Confocal imaging
  • Auto focus
  • STORM and PALM imaging
  • Light sheet microscopy

  • High speed
  • Low noise floor
  • Closed loop control
  • Picometer positioning resolution
  • High speed, high resolution positioning
  • Metrology
  • AFM
  • SPM
Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein's Prediction

“For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe.  This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos. Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained.  Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole.  This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.”

Read the full press release and the paper in Physical Review Letters.

Mad City Labs congratulates the LIGO scientific collaboration on their discovery, which will open new avenues of astrophysical research. Advanced LIGO uses Nano-MTA2 fast mirror steering nanopositioning systems as part of their auxiliary optics subsystem. The Nano-MTA2 is the lowest position noise beam steering system available.

Mad City Labs, Inc is a leading manufacturer of flexure based nanopositioning systems capable of sub-nanometer positioning resolution. Our product line covers the entire spectrum of nanopositioning capabilities while maintaining a leadership role in multi-axis stages for high speed optical microscopy imaging. Mad City Labs design engineers use 3D CAD and finite element analysis to produce nanopositioners which combine long ranges of motion with exceptional linearity, orthogonality, and stability. Our in-house CNC machining centers provide complete control of mechanical assembly production and allow Mad City Labs to design and fabricate custom systems with minimal engineering costs and short lead times. We deliver the tools for nanotechnology in 30 to 45 days and provide the highest level of customer service and satisfaction in the industry. We provide innovative and practical solutions for today’s demanding biotechnology and nanotechnology applications. Applications for nanopositioners include super resolution microscopy, high speed confocal imaging, AFM, NSOM, scanning probe microscopy, fiber positioning, single molecule spectroscopy, single molecule/particle tracking, high resolution optical alignment, SR optical microscopy, sub-diffraction limit microscopy, nanoscopy and lithography.

mclgen@madcitylabs.com       phone: 608.298.0855       fax: 608.298.9525

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