Piezo Flexure Stages and Piezo Shear Actuators in Ion Conductance Microscopy

In contrast to Super-Resolution Optical Microscopy, scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM) does not require precision optics, instead an electrical probe tip is scanned.  Like optical microscopy, SICM is also used for studying live cells and, for example, the interaction of nanoparticles with the cell membrane.

In the recently published article, “A Low-Cost, Large Field-of-View Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope for Studying Nanoparticle–Cell Membrane Interactions” by Gesper et al, a compact and affordable setup is described that can boost spatial resolution to 70 nanometers and below, while observing a rather large square area of 80 micrometers.  The system consists of a compact P-611 NanoCube XYZ piezo nanopositioning stage and an additional fast P-111.05, high-speed piezo shear actuator, providing 5µm lateral motion, with 155kHz resonant frequency.

Left: Variety piezo shear actuators. These actuators provide lateral motion over several microns of travel. Single and multi-axis versions are available. (Image: PI Ceramic)

Right: A P-611 NanoCube® XYZ piezo nanopositioning stage. This stage provides up to 100µm travel and precision guidance through a frictionless flexure mechanism. Position feedback is available for closed-loop operation with improved accuracy and linearity. (Image: PI)


Another application of piezo scanning stages in Ion conductance microscopy is described in“3D electrochemical and ion current imaging using scanning electrochemical–scanning ion conductance microscopy”, by Yasufumi Takahashi et al, WPI-Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Japan.

Here, precise XY / Z position control of the probe was achieved with a combination of the P-621.2CL and P-621.ZCL piezoelectric translation stages. The motion range of the stages is 100µm / axis and the integrated capacitive position feedback allows closed-loop position control with nanometer precision.

And yet another recently reported use of P-621.2C piezo stages and high-speed P-753.21C actuators  for positioning and hopping of the nano pipette can be found here: “Increased miR-124-3p in microglial exosomes following traumatic brain injury inhibits neuronal inflammation…


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