Encoder Sensors for Microscopy – Automated Microscope Stages and Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM)

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Effective microscopy experiments require the movement of samples in minute distances with a high precision. Encoder sensors play a large role in determining the motion and position of automated microscope stages.

Celera Motion works with microscope manufacturors to develop highly accurate microscope stages for optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Read on to find out more about how encoders have improved this microscope staging technology.

Automated Microscope Stage

The Challenge

Microscope stages move lightweight test samples within n electron or optical inspection system. Typically, these systems are space constrained and comprise of multiple axes moving relative to each other in traditional X-Y-Z topology.

Traditional linear dual sided linear motors are too large and provide much more force than required. Mechanical drive systems with ball screws are susceptible to backlash and mechanical coupling errors, and they are also noisy and vibrate.

The Solution

The Javelin Series single sided air core linear motors from Celera Motion are optimized for multi-axis microscope stages. The Javelin Series motors leverage the lower levels of force required, and are designed with extremely low profiles, resulting in stages with heights of <25 mm.

The slotless, brushless motor design of the Javelin Series allows very smooth motion as well as travel lengths over 500 mm. A Juke Series Voice Coil Actuator can also be used for systems requiring a short stroke Z axis.

The Benefit

Laboratory real estate is at a premium. Several challenges faced by the scientific community can be solved by increasing sample quantities and image quality. Javelin Series motors are lower profile than conventional ball screw driven stages and enable microscopes to have the lowest profile possible.

Automated step and repeat and complete scans of samples are required by many new diagnostic methods. The smooth and accurate motion essential for achieving new levels of image quality and throughput for automated microscope applications are delivered by Javelin Series linear motors.

Scanning Electron Microscopes

The Challenge

High precision linear and rotary axes that operate both inside and outside high-vacuum environments are needed by Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM) and Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM). Ideally, it is possible to use a single encoder type throughout the system in order to simplify integration for the manufacturer.

The Solution

The patented PurePrecision optical technology in the Celera Motion's MicroE Mercury series encoders results in highly compact sensors in their performance class and are designed so that the same sensors can be coupled with either rotary or linear glass gratings (scales).

A number of Celera Motion’s MicroE encoders are available in both atmospheric versions and high-vacuum versions that are vented and developed with vacuum compatible materials designed with a 10-8 Torr vacuum rating. In this case, the M2000 and vacuum-rated equivalent M2000V sensors were chosen for their digital signal output, high resolution, and small size.

The Benefit

A considerable reduction in size and mass of each axis is a result of the compact design, while the low power consumption feature enabled by the M2000V design aids the thermal suitability in the vacuum. M2000/M2000V kit encoders are smaller, faster to install, deliver higher performance, and easier to set up and align when compared to other encoders.

The sensor is small enough to fit into extremely tight spaces and operates in both rotary and linear applications. The M2000V sensor is vented, developed with vacuum compatible materials, and designed for a 48 hour bake out at 150 °C. Color coded bare leads are given for customer termination at their vacuum chamber feed-thru.

Celera Motion

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Celera Motion.

For more information on this source, please visit Celera Motion.

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    Celera Motion. (2019, April 19). Encoder Sensors for Microscopy – Automated Microscope Stages and Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM). AZoSensors. Retrieved on December 12, 2019 from https://www.azosensors.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=731.

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