QFOCUS QF46Z Single-Axis, Microscope Objective, Piezo Nanopositioning Stage


Design Features

  • Travels from 100 μm to 300 μm
  • High stiffness and dynamics resulting in outstanding step-and-settle and scanning performance
  • High precision, frictionless flexure guidance
  • Long device lifetime
  • Superior positioning resolution and linearity with direct-metrology capacitive sensor option
  • Mounting flexibility with a variety of threaded adapters or mounting holes for custom mounting arrangements
  • Clear aperture to 29 mm diameter

Aerotech’s QFOCUS® QF46Z piezo nanopositioning stage series enables microscope objective and optics positioning at high-speeds with nanometer-level performance. Available in closed-loop travels of 100 μm and 250 μm (120 μm and 300 μm open-loop), the QF46Z provides long travels without sacrificing dynamic operation and nanometer precision.

The QF46 is designed with next-generation optical instruments and laser machines in mind. For example, the QF46Z can perform better than competitive offerings with larger and heavier higher numerical aperture (NA) objectives due to its higher inherent stiffness. The QF46Z is perfect for any demanding optical application requiring high precision and throughput with long travels.

Precision Mechanical Structure

The QFOCUS QF46Z piezo stages are guided by precision flexures that are optimized using finite element analysis to ensure high-stiffness and long device life. The resulting design offers outstanding stiffness and resonant frequency enabling high process throughput and fast closed-loop response.

In addition, the QF46Z has been designed to provide excellent geometric performance (straightness and angular errors) for critical microscopy and optics positioning applications.

High-Resolution and Positioning Accuracy

The QF46Z piezo stages have the option of closed-loop feedback (-C) using a unique capacitive sensor design that results in sub-nanometer resolution and high linearity. The capacitive sensors measure the output of the positioning carriage directly enabling superior accuracy and repeatability.

Ultra-Precision Control

When coupled with Aerotech’s Q-series controllers and drives, the QF46Z demonstrates sub-nanometer positioning resolution, in-position stability (jitter), and high-positioning bandwidth. Software options such as Aerotech’s Dynamic Controls Toolbox and Motion Designer packages provide a host of advanced yet easy-to-use tools such as Learning Control, Harmonic Cancellation, and Command Shaping, providing improved tracking errors and faster step-and-settle times. OEM drive options are also available.


The QFOCUS QF46Z is available with threaded adapters to fit most microscopes and objectives. The microscope turret mounting allows easy and fast positioning of the QF46Z at the desired orientation. In addition, tapped holes on the stage body provide alternative mounting for custom interfaces in machines or other optical instruments. The QF46Z is available with a clear aperture up to 29 mm. Custom stage designs, travels, and threaded adapters are available.


Mechanical Specifications

Closed-Loop Travel 100 μm 250 μm
Open-Loop Travel, -30 to +150 V(1) 120 μm 300 µm
Resolution(2) Closed-Loop 0.30 nm 0.50 nm
Open-Loop 0.15 nm 0.2 nm
Linearity(3,4) 0.01% 0.01%
Bidirectional Repeatability(5) 2.5 nm 3 nm
Pitch/Yaw 10 μrad (2.1 arc sec) 10 μrad (2.1 arc sec)
Straightness (XY) 15 nm 15 nm
Stiffness (in direction of motion)(6) 1.20 N/μm 0.41 N/μm
Unloaded Resonant Frequency(6) 750 Hz 430 Hz
Resonant Frequency (150 g load)(6,7) 260 Hz 180 Hz
Max Payload(8) 1 kg 1 kg
Maximum Acceleration (Unloaded)(9) 350 m/s2 275 m/s2
Moving Mass (No Objective) 56 g 61 g
Stage Mass(10) 0.21 kg 0.21 kg
Material Anodized Aluminum(11)
MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) 30,000 Hours
  1. Value ±10%.
  2. See Piezo Engineering reference section 4.2 for description of resolution.
  3. Certified with each stage (closed-loop feedback models only).
  4. See Piezo Engineering reference section 4.1 for description of linearity and accuracy specifications.
  5. Specified as a 1 sigma (standard deviation) value (closed-loop feedback models only). See Piezo Engineering reference section 4.3 for description of bidirectional repeatability.
  6. Values ±20%.
  7. Loaded resonance can vary as a function of objective size/geometry.
  8. On-axis loading listed.
  9. Max acceleration listed is the stage mechanical limitation. Achievable acceleration is a function of amplifier selection and move parameters.
  10. Stage mass includes microscope adapter (-MA1) and objective adapter (-OA1).
  11. External elements are anodized aluminum. Brass used for threaded adapters. Some stainless steel components are used in the internal construction. Other materials upon request.

Electrical Specifications

Drive System Piezo Multi-Layer Stack Actuator
Feedback Closed Loop: Capacitive Sensor (-C)
Open Loop: None (-)
Maximum Voltage -30 V to +150 V
Piezo Stack Capacitance(1) 1.6 µF 2.3 µF
  1. Value ±20%

Recommended Controller

    Ensemble Ensemble QLAB
    Ensemble QDe
    Ensemble QLe
    Ensemble QL
    A3200 Ndrive QLe
    Ndrive QL
    1. Unless noted the QLAB, QDe, or QLe drives are required to achieve the listed specifications. Contact Aerotech for specifications when used with the QL drives.


    Ordering Information

    QFOCUS™ QF46Z Piezo Nanopositioning Stage

    Travel (Required)

    -100 100 µm closed-loop travel, 120 µm open-loop travel
    -250 250 µm closed-loop travel, 300 µm open-loop travel

    Feedback (Optional)

    -C Capacitance sensor feedback

    Microscope Adapter (Optional)

    -MA1 W0.8 x 1/36” microscope adapter
    -MA2 M19 x 0.75 microscope adapter
    -MA3 M25 x 0.75 microscope adapter
    -MA4 M26 x 0.75 microscope adapter
    -MA5 M27 x 0.75 microscope adapter
    -MA6 M28 x 0.75 microscope adapter
    -MA7 M32 x 0.75 microscope adapter
    -MA8 M26 x 1/36” microscope adapter

    Objective Adapter (Optional)

    -OA1 W0.8 x 1/36” objective adapter
    -OA2 M19 x 0.75 objective adapter
    -OA3 M25 x 0.75 objective adapter
    -OA4 M26 x 0.75 objective adapter
    -OA5 M27 x 0.75 objective adapter
    -OA6 M28 x 0.75 objective adapter
    -OA7 M32 x 0.75 objective adapter
    -OA8 M26 x 1/36” objective adapter

    Integration (Required)

    Aerotech offers both standard and custom integration services to help you get your system fully operational as quickly as possible. The following standard integration options are available for this system. Please consult Aerotech if you are unsure what level of integration is required, or if you desire custom integration support with your system.
    -TAS Integration - Test as system
    Testing, integration, and documentation of a group of components as a complete system that will be used together (ex: drive, controller, and stage). This includes parameter file generation, system tuning, and documentation of the system configuration.
    -TAC Integration - Test as components
    Testing and integration of individual items as discrete components that ship together. This is typically used for spare parts, replacement parts, or items that will not be used together. These components may or may not be part of a larger system.