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50 mm (1.97") Compact Motorized Translation Stage
50 mm Stage
Breadboard Mounting Adapter
Accessory Mounting Plate
Thorlabs' MTS50-Z8 (MTS50/M-Z8) Motorized Translation Stage features 50 mm (1.97") of electronically controlled linear travel along a well-defined axis. Each stage is equipped with a 1.50" x 1.50" (37.5 mm x 37.5 mm) tapped hole matrix that includes eighteen 4-40 (M3) taps and a centered 8-32 (M4) tap. By integrating the moving platform with the actuator, the overall package size is greatly reduced relative to other motorized stages like the LNR502(/M) Motorized Stage.
The moving platform contains holes for alignment pins that ensure orthogonality when the stage is stacked with other stages or connected to our accessories. Horizontal loads of 25 lbs (12 kg) and vertical loads of 10 lbs (4.5 kg) are supported by the 67:1 planetary gear head. A built-in Hall Effect encoder provides 29 nm resolution (see the Specs tab for additional details).
The translation mechanism, based upon a dual set of linear rails with continuously recirculating ball bearings, provides smooth, low-friction movement. Built-in limit switches prevent travel outside of the intended range, regardless of the control interface being used.
Mounting Adapters and Stage Combinations
The KDC101 provides control for a single axis, with or without a PC. It is bundled with Thorlabs' Kinesis® software, which supplies out-of-the-box stage control from a PC and enables support for common programming interfaces like LabVIEW and LabWindows. A USB cable is included with the KDC101.
Thorlabs also manufactures the LNR502(/M) Motorized Stage, which features a larger mounting surface for even more flexibility.
For the MTS50-Z8 (MTS50/M-Z8), there are 512 encoder counts per revolution of the motor. The output shaft of the motor goes into a 67:1 planetary gear head. This requires the motor to rotate 67 times to rotate the 1.0 mm pitch lead screw one revolution. The end result is the lead screw advances by 1.0 mm.
The linear displacement of the actuator per encoder count is given by
512 x 67 = 34,304 encoder counts per revolution of the lead screw,
whereas the linear displacement of the lead screw per encoder count is given by
1.0 mm / 34,304 counts = 2.9 x 10-5 mm (29 nm).
Motor Connector Pin Out
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.
This guide illustrates some of the basics of using the APT System Software in LabVIEW from a programming point of view that allow immediate command of the APT controllers out of the box.
Motorized Linear Translation Stages
Thorlabs' motorized linear translation stages are offered in a range of maximum travel distances, from a stage with 20 µm of piezo translation to our 600 mm direct drive stage. Many of these stages can be assembled in multi-axis configurations, providing XY or XYZ translation. For fiber coupling applications, please see our multi-axis stages, which offer finer adjustment than our standard motorized translation stages. In addition to motorized linear translation stages, we offer motorized rotation stages, pitch and yaw platforms, and goniometers. We also offer manual translation stages.
These stages incorporate piezoelectric elements in a variety of drive mechanisms. Our Nanoflex™ translation stages use standard piezo chips along with manual actuators. Our LPS710E z-axis stage features a mechanically amplified piezo design and includes a matched controller. The PD1 stage incorporates a piezo inertia drive that uses "stick-slip" friction properties to obtain an extended travel range. The Elliptec™ stages use resonant piezo motors to push and pull the moving platform through resonant elliptical motion.
Stepper Motor Stages
These translation stages feature removable or integrated stepper motors and long travel ranges up to 300 mm. The MLJ150 stage also offers high load capacity vertical translation. The other stages can be assembled into multi-axis configurations.
DC Servo Motor Stages
Thorlabs offers linear translation stages with removable or integrated DC servo motors. These stages feature low profiles and can be assembled in multi-axis configurations.
Direct Drive Stages
These low-profile stages feature integrated brushless DC servo motors for high speed translation with zero backlash. When no power is applied, the platforms of these stages have very little inertia and are virtually free running. Hence these stages may not be suitable for applications where the stage's platform needs to remain in a set position when the power is off. We do not recommend mounting these stages vertically.
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Schematic of Metric Version
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Schematic of Imperial Version
Thorlabs' MTS50-Z8 (MTS50/M-Z8) Motorized Translation Stage provides linear motion in one dimension. One centered 8-32 (M4) tapped hole and eighteen 4-40 (M3) tapped holes allow small optomechanics to be directly mounted to the moving platform. Based upon a dual set of linear rails with continuously recirculating ball bearings, the translation mechanism provides smooth, low-friction movement.
The stage requires our KDC101 DC Servo Motor Controller and Power Supply (each sold separately), which are described in more detail below. For convenience, we also offer a stage, KDC101 DC Servo controller, and KPS101 power supply in a bundle at a significant savings over purchasing these items individually. The power supply you receive will be compatible with outlets in your region. Please contact Tech Support prior to ordering if you require a different plug.
The motor cable that is built into the stage is 0.5 m (1.64 ft) long. If more length is required for your application, we recommend our PAA632 Extension Cable, which provides an additional 2.5 m (8.20 ft). It is sold at the bottom of this page.
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MTS50-Z8 Stage on an Optical Table with MTS50A-Z8 Base Plate
The MTS50A-Z8 Base Plate contains four 1/4" (M6) counterbored slots that allow an attached MTS50-Z8 to be positioned on a breadboard, as shown in the photo to the right. The bottom of the translation stage is connected to the base plate using four 4-40 or M3 cap screws. Two alignment pins ensure that the translation axis is parallel to the length of the plate.
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The MTSA1(/M) adapter plate fixes to the top platform of the MTS50 stages via the through holes in each corner and 4 screws (supplied). It has an array of seven 1/4"-20 (M6) and six 8-32 (M4) mounting holes to offer increased mounting options when used with general-purpose accessories and components. The working height of the stage with an adapter plate and base plate fitted is 1.4" (35.5 mm). The plate is finished in a black, low reflective anodized coating.
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Two MTS50-Z8 Stages in XY Configuration with MTS50B-Z8 Adapter
The MTS50B-Z8 XY Adapter Plate is designed to orient two MTS50-Z8 (MTS50/M-Z8) stages orthogonally in the XY plane, as shown in the photo to the right. This plate may also be used to stack our 25 mm (0.98") MTS25-Z8 stage with a 50 mm (1.97") MTS50-Z8 stage, but the MTS25-Z8 must be on the bottom.
To begin the assembly process, fasten the plate to the top of the lower stage using four of the provided 4-40 or M3 cap screws. Then insert the provided alignment pins. To complete the assembly, use the remaining 4-40 or M3 cap screws to fasten the plate to the bottom of the upper stage.
In order to mount an MTS50-Z8 stage in the vertical plane, please see the MTS50C-Z8 Right-Angle Bracket shown below.
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View Metric Product List
Three MTS50-Z8 Stages in XYZ Configuration with MTS50B-Z8 Adapter and MTS50C-Z8 Right-Angle Bracket
The MTS50C-Z8 Right-Angle Bracket orients an MTS50-Z8 (MTS50/M-Z8) stage along the vertical axis. It is needed when configuring multiple MTS50-Z8 stages into XZ or XYZ arrangements. This bracket may also be used to stack our 25 mm (0.98") MTS25-Z8 stage with a 50 mm (1.97") MTS50-Z8 stage, but the vertical stage must be an MTS50-Z8.
To create the XYZ configuration shown to the right, first create an XY configuration using the MTS50B-Z8 XY Adapter Plate shown above. Then insert two of the provided alignment pins into the upper stage of the XY configuration. Next, fasten the bracket to the top of the upper stage using four of the provided 4-40 or M3 cap screws. After that, insert the two remaining alignment pins into the vertical mounting surface. Finally, attach the bracket to the upper stage with the remaining cap screws.
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The MTS50CSA Adapter Plate orients an MTS50-Z8 (MTS50-Z8) stage parallel to the optical axis in a 60 mm cage system. This allows optics within the cage to be translated over a 50 mm (1.97") range. The cage segment need only be long enough to accommodate the 6.33" (160.8 mm) length of the MTS50-Z8; no additional length is required. An example of the MTS50CSA in use is shown to the right.
To install, insert the two provided alignment pins into the bottom of the stage. Then fasten the adapter to the stage using the four provided 4-40 or M3 cap screws. At this point, the assembly can be inserted through the cage rods in an existing setup. Finally, tighten the two nylon-tipped setscrews against the rods.
Click to Enlarge KAP101 Adapter)
Thorlabs' KDC101 K-Cube Brushed DC Motor Controller provides local and computerized control of a single motor axis. It features a top-mounted control panel with a velocity wheel that supports four-speed bidirectional control with forward and reverse jogging as well as position presets. A backlit digital display is also included that can have the backlit dimmed or turned off using the top-panel menu options. The front of the unit contains two bidirectional trigger ports that can be used to read a 5 V external logic signal or output a 5 V logic signal to control external equipment. Each port can be independently configured.
Please note that this controller does not ship with a power supply. Compatible power supplies are listed below. Additional information can be found on the main KDC101 DC Servo Motor Controller page.
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A location-specific adapter is shipped with the power supply unit based on your location. The adapters for the KPS101 are shown here.
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The KPS101 Power Supply Unit
The KPS101 power supply outputs +15 VDC at up to 2.4 A and can power a single K-Cube or T-Cube with a 3.5 mm jack. It plugs into a standard wall outlet.
The KCH301 and KCH601 USB Controller Hubs each consist of two parts: the hub, which can support up to three (KCH301) or six (KCH601) K-Cubes or T-Cubes, and a power supply that plugs into a standard wall outlet. The hub draws a maximum current of 10 A; please verify that the cubes being used do not require a total current of more than 10 A. In addition, the hub provides USB connectivity to any docked K-Cube or T-Cube through a single USB connection.
For more information on the USB Controller Hubs, see the full web presentation.
The PAA632 Extension Cable provides an additional 2.5 m (8.20 ft) of cable length for the 15-pin D-type connectors used throughout our motorized actuator selection. The male end connects to the controller, while the female end connects to the motor.