Mad City Labs

Mad City Labs

Mad City Labs, Inc is a leading manufacturer of flexure based nanopositioning systems capable of sub-nanometer positioning resolution. Our product line covers the entire spectrum of nanopositioning capabilities while maintaining a leadership role in multi-axis stages for high speed optical microscopy imaging. Mad City Labs design engineers use 3D CAD and finite element analysis to produce nanopositioners which combine long ranges of motion with exceptional linearity, orthogonality, and stability. Our in-house CNC machining centers provide complete control of mechanical assembly production and allow Mad City Labs to design and fabricate custom systems with minimal engineering costs and short lead times. We deliver the tools for nanotechnology in 30 to 45 days and provide the highest level of customer service and satisfaction in the industry. Applications for nanopositioners include high speed confocal imaging, AFM, NSOM, scanning probe microscopy, fiber positioning, single molecule spectroscopy, single molecule tracking, high resolution optical alignment, and lithography.

For further details of products offered, please read on... 

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New Metrology products from Mad City Labs


Mad City Labs recently expanded its line of nanopositioning systems for metrology applications with several high speed, high stability, low position noise, picometer precision products. 

The Nano-HS3M (shown above) is a high speed, XYZ precision nanopositioning system with picometer positioning resolution. Other new products in the line include the Nano-METZ, a compact z-axis nanopositioning system designed for high speed scanning and ultra-low noise characteristics for demanding AFM and metrology applications; the Nano-MET2 and Nano-MET3, ultra-low noise, high precision nanopositioning systems with picometer positioning resolution; and the Nano-MET10 and Nano-MET20, compact, single axis nanopositioning systems with exceptional resonant frequency and low noise characteristics.

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Nature Protocols Paper on Mad City Labs MicroMirror TIRF System


Nature Protocols has published a paper from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Brandeis University about the colocalization single-molecule spectroscopy (CoSMoS) method for studying cellular machines using the Mad City Labs MicroMirror TIRF system.

The technique of micro-mirror TIRF (total internal reflection fluorescence) microscopy is the only proven method to study the ordered assembly and function of multi-component biomolecular machines. The Mad City Labs' MicroMirror TIRF system is part of a single molecule imaging instrument portfolio and draws on Mad City Labs expertise with high precision, high stability nanopositioning systems and microscopy solutions.

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Don't just Think Nano, Think Pico!: Mad City Labs improves proprietary PicoQ sensor technology


Nano-METZ: a compact z-axis nanopositioning system designed for high speed scanning and ultra-low noise characteristics for demanding AFM and metrology applications. Featuring Mad City Labs proprietary PicoQ® sensor technolog® sensor technology

Mad City Labs has improved the implementation of their proprietary PicoQ® sensor technologyin order to minimize position noise for the best ever positioning resolution in the industry. As a result, their high speed, high performance stages with short travel range have moved beyond the realm of nanopositioning into picopositioning, leaving former competitors behind. Systems with so-called "high performance" capacitive sensors cannot achieve picometer resolution because of rising 1/f noise at low frequencies. The position noise power spectrum of the Nano-METZ is shown below. Nanopositioners and picopositioners with PicoQ® sensors have a relatively flat position noise power spectrum at low frequencies and do not exhibit 1/f noise down to 0.001 Hz.

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Mad City Labs PicoQ Sensors are superior to capacitive Sensors


Nano-METZ position noise power spectrum showing flat response at low frequencies with position noise floor of 400 femtometer/√Hz. 

Mad City Labs' implementation of our exclusive PicoQ® sensor technology minimizes position noise for the best positioning resolution in the industry. Our high performance stages have moved beyond the realm of nanopositioning into picopositioning, leaving former competitors behind. Legacy capacitive sensors cannot achieve picometer resolution. The position noise power spectrum of the Nano-METZ is shown below left. Positioners with PicoQ® senorsexhibit noise floors in the femtometer/√Hz range and positioning resolution in the picometer range. Below right is a plot of the Nano-HS3M performing a 20 picometer peak-to-peak sine wave using the 20 bit DAC in the Mad City Labs USB interface, while the sensor is being rmeasured by the 24 bit ADC. The least signficant bit of the DAC is 5 picometers, and is clearly resolvable. Legacy capacitive sensors cannot measure anything at this level. Our competitors cannot produce similar data.

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Mad City Labs: Application of Picometer Resolution - Direct Measurement of Calibration Standard

HS3 atomic steps2

3D representation of Si (111) atomic steps measured by AFM.

Position noise is critical to the resolution of many applications including Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Mad City Labs metrology-class picopositioners™ can be used to build high resolution AFM systems that can detect picometer-scale features. Accurate measurements of single atomic steps in Silicon (111), shown to the left, demonstrate the capabilities of an AFM built with Mad City Labs picopositioners™. The measurement of atomic steps in Silicon (111) is a direct measurement of an established calibration standard. Additional AFM performance demonstrations are available.

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