XY tables, commonly referred to as XY positioning tables, XY linear tables, or motorized XY tables, are used in linear positioning applications to position a sample (slides, flow cells, well plates, etc.) being imaged or analyzed under a microscope. With the ability to move in two degrees of freedom, XY tables enable the imaging of the entire sample with high precision and efficiency.
We offer many different travels and approaches to XY motion depending on your specific application.
Compact High Performance XY Tables
Compact, high performance XY linear tables utilize stacked individual axes to create XY motion. Crossed roller bearing stages such as the SmartStage XY and MMX offer better stiffness and repeatability but have limited travel. Alternatively, the MMS series linear guide rail and carriage bearing assembly offers longer travels with slightly less repeatability.
Open Frame XY Tables
Open frame XY positioning tables have an open aperture that allows for illuminating a sample from one side with the camera, optics, and objective on the other side of the sample. This arrangement is referred to as non-epifluorescence imaging. A typical microscope would have the illumination source below the sample and the camera/detector above the sample, while an inverted microscope has the opposite arrangement with the camera and objective below the table. Having a clear aperture is helpful as it takes up less space than cantilevering the sample.
Monolithic High Load XY Linear Tables
Monolithic style XY linear tables are used for larger loads and when there is a need to reduce height. The middle plate is both the table of the lower axis as well as the base of the upper axis. By using a monolithic integrated approach, a stiffer overall motion table design is achieved which allows for a lower overall stack height, which helps minimize Abbe errors getting introduced into the accuracy of the motion.
Custom Design Capabilities
Dover Motion has more than 25 years of experience working with OEMs to optimize motion for objective focusing, and moving samples on a slides, well plates, or flow cells. Our engineers have developed unique motion control architectures for precision motion specifically tailored to the needs of OEMs developing microscope-based systems and instruments relying on optical imaging as the analytical detection technique. Dover Motion’s novel, patented, SmartStage embedded controls provides key packaging advantages, reduced cabling and cable management requirements, and incredible system value for our clients.
- Fast Linear Motors
- Built in controller
- High Resolution encoder feedback
- Long travel high speed load / unload stage
- Precision stepping axis
- Tip / Tilt to compensate for slide variation
- Optimized for price/performance
- Linear Motor high speed stepping axis
- Screw based indexing and Z lift axes
- Standard well plate carrier
About XY Tables
While a number of positioning actuator applications can be addressed with single-axis translation stages, the majority of customer payloads require motion in two axes, for which we use an XY table, also called XY positioning table, XY linear table, or motorized XY table. In its simplest configuration, an XY table can be assembled by simply bolting two single-axis stages together. In that case, care must be taken to ensure that the axes are truly orthogonal.
In a monolithic XY table, the orthogonality is precision-machined into its component parts. In this type of table, the top of the lower axis serves as the base for the upper axis in a simple and compact three-piece design. This approach typically reduces the overall height of the XY table resulting in less Abbe error. In addition, most of our actuators can be mounted in an XYZ configuration for vertical applications.
XY linear tables can be designed with a wide range of guideways, including:
- Ball and pressure plate provide lower cost, but less stiffness
- Crossed roller guideways offer high stiffness and precision straightness across travel
- Recirculating profile rails are best for longer travels
- Air bearings provide the highest precision flatness and straightness
Dover Motion offers various actuation options, including:
- Rotary stepper motor or rotary servo motor driving a lead screw and friction nut for low cost applications
- Rotary stepper motor or rotary servo motor driving a ball screws for better repeatability
- Rotary motor driven belts and pulleys where speed and cost is more important than precision
- Linear motors for the best reliability (non-contact with no wearing elements) and for high precision repeatability
XY linear stages with air bearings and linear motors provide some of the highest levels of performance available. The only assembly more precise is called a planar gantry design.