Positioning on the Nanoscale with a Joystick Controller
Many applications require a nanopositioner to be programmed for incorporation into a complicated system. For certain applications, it is necessary to use a nanopositioning stage to simply move an object with nanometer precision. nPoint offers a simple way to position with nanoscale resolution by using a standard USB joystick. The joystick can be used in conjunction with nPControl Software, a PC, and a LC.400 Nanopositioning Controller to position the nPoint piezo stage.
The XY stage position can be changed by using the D-pad on the left side of the controller, or by moving the left analog joystick. In the Digital I/O tab of the nPControl software, the digital position command is updated when the stage is moved with the controller. The step increment value controls how fast the stage moves when positioned by the joystick. The step increment can be increased by pressing the left shoulder button, or decreased by pressing the left trigger button on the controller. This allows you to adjust the positioning speed and resolution on the fly with the controller.
The start button can be used to set the XY digital position to the center of the stage (0,0). This allows the user to move to the home position with a single command.
The Joystick Settings window can be accessed via the Settings menu of the nPControl software. The settings window allows you to choose which controller channel will be used for the X or Y axis. The direction of motion with respect to the controls can be reversed by changing the X or Y joystick axis polarity. The step increment change rate controls the sensitivity of the left shoulder and left trigger buttons, allowing you to change the step size resolution to suite the application.
The joystick option for the LC.400 series controllers allows the user to simply manipulate position in nanoscale increments. It provides a simple solution that creates flexibility for the user to position with ease for applications that require nanopositioning with simple control inputs.