PicoScale interferometer




  • 1 pm resolution
  • working range up to 1000 mm
  • velocity up to 1 m/s
  • 10 MHz data rate
  • USB and Ethernet connection

Advanced Trigger

  • synchronization with external devices
  • synchronization with positioners
  • logical combination of up to 8 trigger sources

Real-Time Calculation Unit

  • sum, difference, min/max
  • multiplication, division
  • look-up tables

GPIO Interfaces

  • 9 x digital input/output
  • 3 x analog-to-digital converter (ADC)
  • 3 x digital-to-analog converter (DAC)
  • 3 x AquadB and 3 x serial data channels





  • convenient access to digital and analog inputs and outputs
environmental module

Environmental Module

  • monitoring of temperature, humidity and pressure
  • compensation of the virtual drift induced by fluctuation of the refractive index of air
  • real-time position correction
control system

Modular Control System

  • compact motion controller
  • suitable for high-resolution positioning applications
  • direct link to PICOSCALE interferometer for closed-loop positioning

Graphical User Interface

  • ease of operation
  • flexible data visualization
  • parallel configuration of firmware modules


Differential Measurements

The PICOSCALE interferometer provides differential non-contact measurements between a target mirror and a reference mirror. This allows measuring displacements relative to a certain fixed point of an experimental setup, as well as minimization of noise. Both arms are aligned in order to reduce environmental influences as much as possible.


Figure: Experimental setup for differential measurements. Both the probe and the reference beam are guided to individual mirrors. The differential displacement of these two mirrors is measured with very high resolution.

Angular Measurements

The PICOSCALE allows for simultaneous angular measurements in two degrees of freedom, typically yaw and pitch of a target object. SmarAct provides a special sensor head assembly containing three sensor heads and retro-reflectors. Furthermore, the PICOSCALE can be used as an encoder for closed-loop control of rotary axes. A direct interface between interferometer controller and the new SmarAct motion controller MCS2 is now available.

runout correction

Figure: Three PICOSCALE sensor heads are measuring the angle of the target plate to which three retro-reflectors are mounted.

Measurements On Various Surfaces

The PICOSCALE optical working principle is based on a Michelson interferometer. This is beneficial in comparison with other interferometer types, especially if the target reflectivity is arbitrary. In a demonstrator setup we show that the PICOSCALE can measure displacements of targets with different reflectivities using the same sensor head in a single pass configuration.

runout correction

Figure: A C01 sensor head is aligned to a sample holder where different targets (gold mirror, LEGO brick, ceramic plate, glass plate, polished aluminum, copper-beryllium) are mounted.

Easy Alignment Using SmarAlign

The SmarAlign window is a user-friendly feature that is included in a selection of PICOSCALE sensor heads (e.g. PS-SH-C01). With the help of the fully integrated, visible pilot laser beam the sensor head and probe mirror can be aligned to superimpose the reference and probe beam at the beam splitter and thus to quickly obtain high signal quality. When the sensor head and probe mirror are aligned coarsely, the PICOSCALE GUI can be used to further optimize the signal quality.


Check our homepage to get more information about the PICOSCALE