PI Motion Platforms & Microscopy: Key Principles

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PI Motion Platforms & Microscopy: Key Principles
Advanced imaging methods have had an unfathomable impact on human manufacturing and research capabilities, liberating scientists from the limitations of conventional optical microscopy and enabling the visualization of structures on the sub-micron to sub-nanoscale. This success hinges on numerous interwoven innovations, including control electronics, sample preparation and development of high-precision motion platforms based on novel electro-ceramic drives.

Motion Platforms in Microscopy: Enabling New Levels of Precision
The resolving powers of leading-edge microscopic instrumentation vary dramatically given the sheer variety of tools available to modern scientists. For example:

  • Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has one of the highest vertical (Z-axis) resolutions available – as much as 0.1 nanometres (nm) – although this depends on the method and mode used (i.e. tapping). Certain AFM techniques can provide reliable visualization of individual atoms and molecules in samples. However, AFM cannot reveal spectral information and does not work on living cells.
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) exploits a beam of electrons to interrogate specimens with an approximate resolution of 0.2 nm, or 200 picometres (pm), achieving magnifications of up to 2,000,000x.
  • Confocal microscopy was the first optical microscopy to allow 3D images of living cells. It has a comparatively poor resolution in the Z-axis– approximately 500 nm – but with good lateral resolution (XY-axes) and the ability to observe a relatively wide sample plane from a distance comparable to compound microscopy.1
  • Super resolution optical microscopy techniques take confocal microscopy a step further and allow resolutions down to the 10nm range, with the ability to image single bio molecules.  More information on the latest light sheet super resolution microscopes         read ....more