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Precision servo positioning for microscope scan stage

Precision servo positioning for microscope scan stage Modern microscopes have become an indispensable part of medical research. The procedure for quickly and precisely examining the relevant sections of a sample has always been to adjust the slide's position by moving the stage under the lens. At high magnification, and if a sample is to be evaluated entirely and not just at select points, then manual adjustment is no longer adequate.

Objective Imaging of Cambridge looked to develop an automated alternative, moving the stage under the lens. But this places stringent requirements on the drive components. There must be no mechanical play, and a repeat accuracy of a few microns is needed, even with fast positioning. to develop is new OASIS Glide Scanning Stage, Objective Technology turned to Faulhaber direct drive linear motors from EMS.

The OASIS Glide-S1 works with an 'adjustment Along with its advanced technology, the stage also offers standard features such as a dovetail guide and screw fastening suitable for the majority of microscopes. A new manual entry unit with colour touchscreen and 3-axis joystick greatly simplifies adjustments for various positions.
At the heart of the adjustable stage are two linear motors with ±30 and ±80mm strokes that work together in concert. Along with considerably better mechanical resolution, this drive solution also represents better value compared to traditional drive solutions in this segment.

The linear drive combines the quick and easy control of an electrical system with the simple construction of pneumatic cylinders. Instead of the usual 'surface rotor' with slides and guides, the microdrive is built within a new, rotationally symmetric design of the rotor. The rectangular, easily flange-mounted stator is designed for close to universal fit and can therefore be easily integrated with the scanning stage. The slimline design also benefits from the fact that the stator (motor) measures only 12.5x19.9x49.4mm, including the plug connector. The forcer rod is currently offered in six variations, each with a diameter of 6.3 mm and selectable lengths of 82, 109, 127, 154, 172 and 190mm. This makes stroke lengths of up to ±10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 60mm possible.

The mechanical properties of the linear DC-Servomotor are impressive: the continuous force of the rod amounts to 3.6N, with a peak or strike force of up to 10.7N available. Depending on the stress scenario, the acceleration for the 20mm version equates to 198m/s2, in other words 19 times faster than gravitational acceleration, while the 120mm version manages 82.9m/s2. The robust plain bearings for the forcer rod smoothly accommodate speeds up to 3.2m/s.

Despite these outstanding performance figures, the linear motor is precisely adjustable using the motion controller. Repeat accuracy (maximum deviation during multiple repeated movements) amounts to 40_m. The three linear Hall sensors in combination with the motion controller limit the maximum positioning margin of error, meaning the difference between predefined and measured position of the system, to 120_m for the 20mm version and up to 220_m for the 120mm model. Since all values are determined purely electrically, mechanical tolerances, wear and thermal expansion of the components are of no relevance.

The new linear drives offer previously unattainable precision and speed, as well as boasting the ultimate in smooth operation. The latter was an important criterion in choosing this drive system. Mechanical play, such as that seen in lead screw drives, is eliminated, as is operational noise. Exceptional vertical stability and lack of vibration accommodate the improved resolution at higher progression speeds. The entire system does not require any maintenance and is easy to equip.
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