150 V USB Closed-Loop Piezo Controllers
- 1-Channel and 3-Channel Options
- Selectable High-Power Drive Outputs
- Front Panel Controls
Full Suite of Software Support Tools Included
|Benchtop Motion Controllers|
|1-, 2- and 3-Channel Brushless DC Servo Controllers|
|1-, 2-, and 3-Channel Stepper Motor Controllers|
|1- and 3-Channel Open Loop Piezo Controllers|
|1- and 3-Channel Closed Loop Piezo Controllers|
|2-Channel NanoTrak® Auto-Alignment Controller|
- Variable Output Selection: 75 V, 100 V, or 150 V
- Closed-Loop PID with Advanced Control Algorithm
- Strain Gauge or Capacitive Sensor Feedback Options
- High-Resolution Position Control for Very Fine Positioning Applications
- Voltage Ramp/Waveform Generation Capability for Scanning Applications
- High Bandwidth (10 kHz) Piezo Positioning
- Auto-Configure Function for Thorlabs Ident-Equipped Piezo Actuators
- User-Controlled Digital I/O Port
- USB Plug-and-Play – Multiaxis Expansion
- Motor Control I/O Port (Jogging, Interlocks)
- Full Software Control Suite Supplied
- Intuitive Software Graphical Control Panels
- Extensive ActiveX® Programming Interfaces
- Fully Software Integrated with Other APT™ Family Controllers (Integrated Systems Development)
These single- and 3-channel, high-power (150 V) benchtop piezo controllers provide open- or closed-loop nanometer position control. They have been designed to drive our full range of open- and closed-loop piezo-equipped nanopositioning actuators and stages. In addition, flexible software settings make these units highly configurable and therefore suitable for driving a wide range of third-party piezo elements. A waveform generation capability combined with triggering outputs make these units particularly suitable for piezo scanning applications.
Manual controls are located on the front face of the unit to allow manual adjustment of the piezo position using the digitally encoded adjustment pot. The display is easy to read and can be set to show either applied voltage or position in microns. Open- or closed-loop control and zeroing of the piezo can also be selected from the front panel.
USB connectivity provides easy plug-and-play PC operation. Multiple units can be connected to a single PC via standard USB hub technology for multi-axis motion control applications. Coupling this with the user-friendly APT™ software allows the unit to get up and running quickly. For example, all relevant operating parameters are set automatically for Thorlabs' piezo actuated products. Advanced custom motion control applications and sequences are also possible using the extensive ActiveX® programming environment, which is described in more detail on the Motion Control Software tab. These ActiveX Controls can be incorporated into a wide range of software development environments including Labview, C++, and Matlab.
|Other Piezo Driver Controllers|
|K-Cube™ Single-Channel Controller||Open Loop Benchtop Controller
1- and 3-Channel
|Closed Loop Benchtop Controller
1- and 3-Channel
|Modular 2-Channel Rack System Module|
Specifications (Per Channel)
|Piezoelectric Output (SMC Male)|
|Voltage (Software Control)||75 V, 100 V, or 150 VDC|
|Current||500 mA Continuous (Max)||1 A Continuous (Max)|
|Stability||100 ppm Over 24 Hours (After 30 min Warm-Up Time)|
|Noise||<3 mV RMS|
|Piezo Capacitance||1 to 10 µF (Typical)|
|Bandwidth||10 kHz (1 µF Load, 1 Vp-p)|
|External Input (BNC)|
|Input Type||Differential or Single Ended|
|Input Voltage for Full Range
(i.e. 75 V, 100 V or 150 V)
|10 V ±2%|
|Max Output||75 V Range: -10V to 90 V DC
100 V Range: -10V to 115 V DC
150 V Range: -10 V to 159 V DC
|Position Feedback (PIEZO IN) (9-Pin D-Type Female)|
|Feedback Transducer Typea||Strain Gauge or Capacitive Sensor|
|Detection Method||AC Bridge (18 kHz Excitation)|
|Typical Resolution||5 nm (for 20 µm Actuator e.g., PAZ005)|
|Auto Configure||Identification Resistor or Stage ID EEPROM in Actuator|
|User Input/Output (AUX IO) (15-Pin D-Type Female)|
|4 Digital Inputs||TTL Levels|
|4 Digital Outputs||Open Collector|
|Trigger Input Functionality||Triggered Voltage Ramps/Waveforms|
|Trigger Output Functionality||Trigger Generation During Voltage Ramp Output|
|User 5 V (with Ground)||250 mA (Max)|
Specifications (Main Unit)
|Front Panel Controls|
|Buttons||Channel Select, Volts/Microns Select, Open/Closed Loop Select, Zero,
Resolution, Max Voltage
|Resolution||Switchable Coarse and Fine Adjustment|
|Output||Infinite Turn Precision Digital Potentiometer (Encoder)|
|USB Port||Version 2.0 Full Speed Compatible|
|Input Power Requirements|
|Voltage||85 - 264 VAC|
|Power||150 VA||250 VA|
|Fuse||3.15 A||3.15 A|
|Housing Dimensions (W x D x H)||152 mm x 244 mm x 104 mm
(6" x 9.6" x 4.1")
|240 mm x 360 mm x 133 mm
(9.5" x 14.2" x 5.2")
|Weight||3.18 kg (7 lbs)||6.7 kg (14.75 lbs)|
The graphs below show the drive voltage/frequency response at different capacitive loads for the BPC301 and BPC303.
|1||Strain Gauge Excitation||4||Ground||7||Actuator ID Signalb|
|2||+15 V Outa||5||AC Feedback In||8||Reserved for Future Use|
|3||-15 V Outa||6||Ground||9||Reserved for Future Use|
|1||Not Connected||4||Not Connected||7||Not Connected|
|2||RX (Controller Input)||5||Ground||8||Not Connected|
|3||TX (Controller Output)||6||Not Connected||9||Not Connected|
|1||DIG O/P 1||5, 9, 10||6||DIG I/P 1||5, 9, 10||11||For Future Use (Trigger OUT)||5, 9, 10|
|2||DIG O/P 2||5, 9, 10||7||DIG I/P 2||5, 9, 10||12||For Future Use (Trigger IN)||5, 9, 10|
|3||DIG O/P 3||5, 9, 10||8||DIG I/P 3||5, 9, 10||13||DIG I/P 4||5, 9, 10|
|4||DIG O/P 4||5, 9, 10||9||DIG Ground||-||14||5 V Supply Output||5, 9, 10|
|5||DIG Ground||-||10||DIG Ground||-||15||5 V Supply Output||5, 9, 10|
|1||RX (Controller Input)||4||+5 V, 100 mA Supply for Joystick|
|2||Ground||5||TX (Controller Output)|
Output Voltage: 0 - 150 V
Current: 0 - 500 mA
Trig In and Trig Out
Input Trig Voltage: 0 - 7 V DC
Output Trig Voltage: 0 - 5 V DC
EXT In (+) and EXT In (-)
Input Voltage: 0 - 10 V
Input Impedance: 20 kΩ
The BPC300 Series are the latest generation piezo controllers to be added to the apt™ motion control family. They have been designed for use in critical alignment applications where manual or automated nanometer level motion control is required. These high power yet low noise units deliver up to 150 V per channel and are compatible with all piezo-actuated nanopositioning actuators and stages in the Thorlabs range. They combine the latest high speed digital signal processors (DSP) with low-noise analog electronics and ActiveX® software technology for effortless software controlled piezo motion.
To support such a wide range piezo actuators these apt™ piezo units are fully configurable through software accessable key parameter settings. Intuitive easy to use software graphical panels allow immediate control and visualization of the operation of the piezo controller – adjustment of many key parameters is possible through direct interaction with the graphical panel. Open or closed loop operating modes can be selected 'on the fly', and in both modes the display can be changed to show drive voltage or position (in microns). In the closed loop operation mode, both the P & I (proportional and integral) components of the feedback control loop can be altered to adjust the servo loop response. The output drive voltage or position can be adjusted by rotating the software-pane" control knob.
Note that all such settings and parameters are also accessible through the ActiveX programmable interfaces which allow the user to build automated alignment routines. Refer to the Motion Control Software tab for further information on the apt™ software support for the BPC200 Series.
Over and above open and closed loop piezo positioning the DSP controllers within the BCP300 Series offer additional and useful functionality. Through software it is possible to program in a voltage (or position) ramp or waveform as a table of values and then instruct the controller to output (clock out) this table either 'single shot' or continuously. It is possible to specify a hardware output trigger to be generated at a specific point during the waveform output in order to control third party equipment as a function of the piezo voltage (position). Alternatively an external system can trigger the piezo unit to initiate the waveform output in the reverse scenario. This functionality is particularly useful for piezo scanning applications.
Full Software GUI Control Suite & ActiveX® Controls Included
A full and sophisticated software support suite is supplied with the BPC300 controller. The suite includes a number of out of the box user utilities to allow immediate operation of the unit without any detailed pre-configuration. All operating modes can be accessed manually and all operating parameters changed and saved for next use. For more advanced custom motion control applications, a fully featured ActiveX® programming environment is also included to facilitate custom application development in a wide range of programming environments. Note that all such settings and parameters described above are also accessible through these ActiveX® programmable interfaces. For further information on the apt™ software support for the BPC300 units refer to the Motion Control Software tab. Demonstration videos illustrating how to program the apt™ software are also available for viewing.
The ActiveX® apt™ system software shipped with these units is also compatible with other apt™ family controllers including our multi-channel rack-based system and smaller optical table mountable 'Cube' controllers. This single unified software offering allows seamless mixing of any apt™ benchtop, table top and rack based units in any single positioning application.
The key innovation of the apt™ range of controllers and associated mechanical products is the ease and speed with which complete automated alignment/positioning systems can be engineered at both the hardware and software level. All controllers in the apt™ range are equipped with USB connectivity. The 'multi-drop' USB bus allows multiple apt™ units to be connected to a single controller PC using commercial USB hubs and cables. When planning a multichannel application, simply add up the number and type of drive channels required and connect together the associated number of APT controllers.
Software Developers Support CD
A developers’ kit is shipped with all of our apt™ series controllers. This additional software support is intended for use by software developers working on large, system integration projects that incorporate apt™ products. The kit contains an extensive selection of useful code samples as well as a library of Video Tutorials.
Thorlabs offers two platforms to drive our wide range of motion controllers: our Kinesis® software package or the legacy APT™ (Advanced Positioning Technology) software package. Either package can be used to control devices in the Kinesis family, which covers a wide range of motion controllers ranging from small, low-powered, single-channel drivers (such as the K-Cubes™ and T-Cubes™) to high-power, multi-channel, modular 19" rack nanopositioning systems (the APT Rack System).
The Kinesis Software features .NET controls which can be used by 3rd party developers working in the latest C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any .NET compatible languages to create custom applications. Low-level DLL libraries are included for applications not expected to use the .NET framework. A Central Sequence Manager supports integration and synchronization of all Thorlabs motion control hardware.
Kinesis GUI Screen
APT GUI Screen
Our legacy APT System Software platform offers ActiveX-based controls which can be used by 3rd party developers working on C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any Active-X compatible languages to create custom applications and includes a simulator mode to assist in developing custom applications without requiring hardware.
By providing these common software platforms, Thorlabs has ensured that users can easily mix and match any of the Kinesis and APT controllers in a single application, while only having to learn a single set of software tools. In this way, it is perfectly feasible to combine any of the controllers from single-axis to multi-axis systems and control all from a single, PC-based unified software interface.
The software packages allow two methods of usage: graphical user interface (GUI) utilities for direct interaction with and control of the controllers 'out of the box', and a set of programming interfaces that allow custom-integrated positioning and alignment solutions to be easily programmed in the development language of choice.
A range of video tutorials is available to help explain our APT system software. These tutorials provide an overview of the software and the APT Config utility. Additionally, a tutorial video is available to explain how to select simulator mode within the software, which allows the user to experiment with the software without a controller connected. Please select the APT Tutorials tab above to view these videos.
The APT video tutorials available here fall into two main groups - one group covers using the supplied APT utilities and the second group covers programming the APT System using a selection of different programming environments.
Disclaimer: The videos below were originally produced in Adobe Flash. Following the discontinuation of Flash after 2020, these tutorials were re-recorded for future use. The Flash Player controls still appear in the bottom of each video, but they are not functional.
Every APT controller is supplied with the utilities APTUser and APTConfig. APTUser provides a quick and easy way of interacting with the APT control hardware using intuitive graphical control panels. APTConfig is an 'off-line' utility that allows various system wide settings to be made such as pre-selecting mechanical stage types and associating them with specific motion controllers.
APT User Utility
The first video below gives an overview of using the APTUser Utility. The OptoDriver single channel controller products can be operated via their front panel controls in the absence of a control PC. The stored settings relating to the operation of these front panel controls can be changed using the APTUser utility. The second video illustrates this process.
APT Config Utility
There are various APT system-wide settings that can be made using the APT Config utility, including setting up a simulated hardware configuration and associating mechanical stages with specific motor drive channels. The first video presents a brief overview of the APT Config application. More details on creating a simulated hardware configuration and making stage associations are present in the next two videos.
The APT Software System is implemented as a collection of ActiveX Controls. ActiveX Controls are language-independant software modules that provide both a graphical user interface and a programming interface. There is an ActiveX Control type for each type of hardware unit, e.g. a Motor ActiveX Control covers operation with any type of APT motor controller (DC or stepper). Many Windows software development environments and languages directly support ActiveX Controls, and, once such a Control is embedded into a custom application, all of the functionality it contains is immediately available to the application for automated operation. The videos below illustrate the basics of using the APT ActiveX Controls with LabVIEW, Visual Basic, and Visual C++. Note that many other languages support ActiveX including LabWindows CVI, C++ Builder, VB.NET, C#.NET, Office VBA, Matlab, HPVEE etc. Although these environments are not covered specifically by the tutorial videos, many of the ideas shown will still be relevant to using these other languages.
Part 1 illustrates how to get an APT ActiveX Control running within Visual Basic, and Part 2 goes on to show how to program a custom positioning sequence.
Full Active support is provided by LabVIEW and the series of tutorial videos below illustrate the basic building blocks in creating a custom APT motion control sequence. We start by showing how to call up the Thorlabs-supplied online help during software development. Part 2 illustrates how to create an APT ActiveX Control. ActiveX Controls provide both Methods (i.e. Functions) and Properties (i.e. Value Settings). Parts 3 and 4 show how to create and wire up both the methods and properties exposed by an ActiveX Control. Finally, in Part 5, we pull everything together and show a completed LabVIEW example program that demonstrates a custom move sequence.
Part 1: Accessing Online Help
Part 2: Creating an ActiveX Control
Part 3: Create an ActiveX Method
Part 4: Create an ActiveX Property
Part 5: How to Start an ActiveX Control
The following tutorial videos illustrate alternative ways of creating Method and Property nodes:
Create an ActiveX Method (Alternative)
Create an ActiveX Property (Alternative)
Part 1 illustrates how to get an APT ActiveX Control running within Visual C++, and Part 2 goes on to show how to program a custom positioning sequence.
For assistance when using MATLAB and ActiveX controls with the Thorlabs APT positioners, click here.
To further assist programmers, a guide to programming the APT software in LabVIEW is also available here.
Piezo Driver Bandwidth Tutorial
Knowing the rate at which a piezo is capable of changing lengths is essential in many high-speed applications. The bandwidth of a piezo controller and stack can be estimated if the following is known:
- The maximum amount of current the controllers can produce. This is 0.5 A for our BPC Series Piezo Controllers, which is the driver used in the examples below.
- The load capacitance of the piezo. The higher the capacitance, the slower the system.
- The desired signal amplitude (V), which determines the length that the piezo extends.
- The absolute maximum bandwidth of the driver, which is independent of the load being driven.
To drive the output capacitor, current is needed to charge it and to discharge it. The change in charge, dV/dt, is called the slew rate. The larger the capacitance, the more current needed:
For example, if a 100 µm stack with a capacitance of 20 µF is being driven by a BPC Series piezo controller with a maximum current of 0.5 A, the slew rate is given by
Hence, for an instantaneous voltage change from 0 V to 75 V, it would take 3 ms for the output voltage to reach 75 V.
Note: For these calculations, it is assumed that the absolute maximum bandwidth of the driver is much higher than the bandwidths calculated, and thus, driver bandwidth is not a limiting factor. Also please note that these calculations only apply for open-loop systems. In closed-loop mode, the slow response of the feedback loop puts another limit on the bandwidth.
The bandwidth of the system usually refers to the system's response to a sinusoidal signal of a given amplitude. For a piezo element driven by a sinusoidal signal of peak amplitude A, peak-to-peak voltage Vpp, and frequency f, we have:
A diagram of voltage as a function of time is shown to the right. The maximum slew rate, or voltage change, is reached at t = 2nπ, (n=0, 1, 2,...) at point a in the diagram to the right:
From the first equation, above:
For the example above, the maximum full-range (75 V) bandwidth would be
For a smaller piezo stack with 10 times lower capacitance, the results would be 10 times better, or about 1060 Hz. Or, if the peak-to-peak signal is reduced to 7.5 V (10% max amplitude) with the 100 µm stack, again, the result would be 10 times better at about 1060 Hz.
Triangle Wave Signal
For a piezo actuator driven by a triangle wave of max voltage Vpeak and minimum voltage of 0, the slew rate is equal to the slope:
Or, since f = 1/T:
Square Wave Signal
For a piezo actuator driven by a square wave of maximum voltage Vpeak and minimum voltage 0, the slew rate limits the minimum rise and fall times. In this case, the slew rate is equal to the slope while the signal is rising or falling. If tr is the minimum rise time, then
For additional information about piezo theory and operation, see the Piezoelectric Tutorials page.
- High Reliability Hall Effect Finger Joystick
- Speed Adjustment for Fast or High Precision Moves
- Speed Pot for Sensitivity Adjustment
- Allows Remote Manual Control
- Can be Reprogrammed using a Benchtop Controller and a PC
- Ergonomic and Elegant Design
- High Quality Machined Anodized Aluminum Casing
The MZF001 joystick console has been designed to provide intuitive, tactile, manual positioning of our range of piezo-based stages. It is used in conjunction with the single- and 3-channel controllers described above, enabling full control of the piezo actuators in situations where the application is at some distance from the controller, thereby allowing convenient adjustment of the output while monitoring the alignment. This is useful when working in a complex optical setup, where access to the front panel controls or adjusting controls on the PC is impractical. Furthermore, if the parameter settings are saved (persisted) to the controller, the controller need not be connected to a host PC, thereby allowing remote operation.