AUBURN, Mass., Jan. 24, 2011 — For microscopy applications, PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P. has introduced a series of fast digital piezo focusing devices. The new PIFOC system packages are designed to improve results in fast focusing and lens positioning as well as in deconvolution/3-D imaging and to reduce costs. The complete system includes a fast digital controller and software and offers a choice of 100-, 250- and 400-µm travel ranges. Other features include subnanometer resolution. Available position feedback sensors include the low-cost piezoresistive and the higher-precision capacitive types. Applications include fast autofocus systems, microscopy, 3-D imaging, screening, surface analysis and wafer inspection. The PIFOC piezo objective scanner system packages consist of closed-loop piezomechanic objective positioners and custom-tuned compact ditigal servo controller/driver units. This combination provides higher performance at reduced costs. The integrated, frictionless and high-stiffness piezo flexure drive ensures fast response and short settling times, as well as good guiding accuracy. The settling time of <10 ms increases throughput and allows for rapid Z-stack acquisition. According to the company, the digital controller provides several advantages compared to the conventional analog controllers of the fast focusing systems currently available: higher linearity, improved settling performance, quick adaptation to changing motion requirements and access to advanced automation features. The included software facilitates system setup and allows switching of different sets of parameters on-the-fly. For the user this means extracting the maximum performance from the piezo focusing mechanism all the time, no matter what size objective is used or whether aggressive long-travel stepping or smooth nanometer size dithering motion is needed. Because jumpers and trim pots no longer have to be accessed to make changes, system integration becomes much more straightforward. Setup with the included user-interface software is fast and easy, and interfacing to the customers' software is facilitated with the included LabView drivers and dynamic link libraries. Drivers for leading image acquisition software packages such as MetaMorph and µManager are available.