How an XY Stage Can Upgrade a Microscope

How an XY Stage Can Upgrade a Microscope

Image Credit: Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd.

Today, many microscopes with exceptional optics capable of producing high-resolution images are underused. These microscopes may be older purchases or recent systems acquired on a limited budget, or they may simply not meet certain requirements. Automating these microscopes with motorized stages to perform some more complex imaging experiments may offer a solution.

Benefits of Motorized Stages

Material and life sciences utilize microscopes featuring motorized stages to cover a broad range of experiment types and applications.

When integrated into a microscope’s system, motorized stages allow for rapid, smooth, and highly repeatable sample movement, which can often be difficult or impractical to achieve when using a manual stage. This is especially true when the experiment demands that the operator must perform repeated, precise, and accurate movements over long periods of time.

Motorized stages enable the user to pre-program movements and incorporate the stage’s positioning within the process of imaging. Thus, these stages facilitate complex and more efficient imaging over the necessary, extended time periods. Motorized stages eliminate the operator’s repetitive movements associated with manual stages, which can lead to strain on the joints of the fingers and wrist.

A fully motorized microscope configuration will ordinarily include many of the features listed below – most of which can be provided by Prior Scientific:

  • Motorized XY stage
  • Motorized add-on focus drive
  • Motorized Z (focus)
  • Joystick for XY control
  • Control software
  • Stage controllers, such as an external control box or internal PC card
  • Focus control
  • Digital camera for automated image acquisition

High-resolution, top-quality imaging, and precision generated by motorized stages are key factors for the progression of imaging work. The H117 motorized precision stage for inverted microscopes manufactured by Prior is a prime example of a motorized stage.

In research investigating the distribution of cancer biomarkers on the cell membrane, this stage demonstrated itself to be an exceptional tool that was simple to incorporate into a manual microscope system. The motorized stage offered the researchers a first-class combination of large travel range and high precision.

Prior’s ProScan III controller has the capacity to control the H117 stage, motorized filter wheels, motorized focus, and shutters. Each of these components can be easily incorporated into image acquisition software, leading to complete automation of the whole imaging process.

Used in conjunction with other Prior products, the ProScan stage can guarantee total control of the acquisition hardware enabling the investigator to acquire reliable and accurate images of multiple sites across the duration of the experiment.

The XY Stage

One of the key features of microscope automation is the XY motorized stage. This stage offers the option to precisely and accurately transport a sample into the instrument’s optical axis. Prior manufacture an excellent range of XY linear motor stages, including:

  • XY stages for upright microscopes
  • XY stages for inverted microscopes
  • XY linear motor stages for inverted microscopes

Some of the various applications in which an experiment might profit from XY motorized stages are:

  • Positioning for multiple samples
  • High point pressure testing
  • Routine and ultra-high precision scanning and processing
  • Wafer loading and unloading
  • Live cell imaging

Improving a manual microscope by fitting an XY stage to produce a fully motorized system increases sample throughput and operator efficiency. In addition, an upgraded motorized system will frequently offer improved calibration, as many stages come with the capacity to produce feedback on the sample’s position under an objective lens.

Why You Should Consider Purchasing Motorized Stages Separately

Several microscope manufacturers do not offer upgrades subsequent to purchase. Operators in possession of an existing manual microscope with satisfactory optics could now potentially upgrade their equipment to an automated system. Generally, it is considered to be cost-effective to initially acquire a manual microscope with optimal imaging capabilities followed by advancing the system to motorized stages.

Comparatively, purchasing the entire system upfront can result in much higher costs and investment. However, purchasing the XY stage separately makes certain the user has the correct stage necessary for the application. Prior can provide an extensive range of motorized stages for almost any microscope.

Choose Prior to Automate Your Manual Microscopes

Researchers and scientists alike can extend the capabilities of their current microscopes with the acquisition of Prior’s motorized stages. Prior offers an extensive product portfolio of stages for all popular microscope models.  These stages are adapted to suit different applications, from routine scanning to high-precision scanning and position. Prior collaborates closely with microscope manufacturers to guarantee all of their stages can work seamlessly with various models of microscope.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd.. (2020, December 03). How an XY Stage Can Upgrade a Microscope. AZoNano. Retrieved on January 29, 2022 from

  • MLA

    Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd.. "How an XY Stage Can Upgrade a Microscope". AZoNano. 29 January 2022. <>.

  • Chicago

    Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd.. "How an XY Stage Can Upgrade a Microscope". AZoNano. (accessed January 29, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd.. 2020. How an XY Stage Can Upgrade a Microscope. AZoNano, viewed 29 January 2022,

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback