4 Closed-Looped Systems That Use Piezo Stages

When technology requires fast response, high resolution, accuracy, and straightness, piezo positioning stages are far superior to using the classic motor-stage positioning stages. Here are four closed-loop systems that benefit from using piezo stages.

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

This type of system is also referred to as scanning probe microsopy (SPM). Some of the types of measurable force interaction that uses an AFM technique includes:

  • van der Waals
  • electrical
  • magnetic
  • thermal

The two components that are usually included in AFM include Deflection and Force Measurement. Life sciences research, revolutionary imaging techniques, and advanced software and applications, are all areas that benefit from high quality AFM using piezo stages.

Automated Optical Inspection Systems

This type of system is used to visually inspect printed circuit board (PCB), where an unmonitored camera scans a device during the manufacturing process for quality defects and catastrophic failures. Different types of defects and failures may include missing components and component skews.

Some of the related technologies to automated optical inspection systems where piezo stages are beneficial for testing the operation of electronics PCBs include: automated x-ray inspection, Joint Test Action Group (JTAG), and In-circuit test (ICT).


A sub technology of nanotechnology, nanolithography is defined as the art and science of printing, etching, or writing at a microscopic level where the material surface is less than 100 nanometers. One example of such a tiny surface would be a semiconductor chip in a computer. Some of the different nanolithographic techniques include: 

  • Photolithography - allows semiconductor chips to be produced in mass quantities on a single silicon wafer
  • Electron beam lithography (EBL) - a beam of electrons gets scanned over the surface in order to etch a pattern of very tiny features
  • Dip-Pen nanolithography - a pattern can be built on a substrate material by using an atomic force microscope (AFM)


Also known as focus stacking or focal plane merging, z-stacking is a digital image processing technique that that combines images taken at different distances, while then allowing an image to gain a greater depth of field. Z-stacking is typically used when an image contains a shallow depth of field such as:

  • Macro photography
  • Optical microscopy

Z-stacking has become an important element for professional photographers who want to create eye-catching images. Close-ups, product photography, and even landscape photos can all benefit from z-stacking. Photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Helicon Focus, and Zerene Stacker enable photographers and graphic artists to make use of z-stacking techniques.