Mad City Labs, Inc is a leading manufacturer of flexure based nanopositioning systems capable of sub-nanometer positioning resolution. Our product line covers the entire spectrum of nanopositioning capabilities while maintaining a leadership role in multi-axis stages for high speed optical microscopy imaging. Mad City Labs design engineers use 3D CAD and finite element analysis to produce nanopositioners which combine long ranges of motion with exceptional linearity, orthogonality, and stability. Our in-house CNC machining centers provide complete control of mechanical assembly production and allow Mad City Labs to design and fabricate custom systems with minimal engineering costs and short lead times. We deliver the tools for nanotechnology in 30 to 45 days and provide the highest level of customer service and satisfaction in the industry. We provide innovative and practical solutions for today’s demanding biotechnology and nanotechnology applications. Applications for nanopositioners include super resolution microscopy, high speed confocal imaging, AFM, NSOM, scanning probe microscopy, fiber positioning, single molecule spectroscopy, single molecule/particle tracking, high resolution optical alignment, SR optical microscopy, sub-diffraction limit microscopy, nanoscopy and lithography.


Mad City Labs' QS-PLL™ is an atomic force microscope (AFM) controller designed for use with resonant probes, such as tuning forks, and Mad City Labs nanopositioners and micropositioners. The controller integrates motion control and phase lock loop (PLL) control thus streamlining the hardware interface.

The Nano-Man5 is a five-axis piezo nanopositioning system with closed loop feedback control for absolute position measurement. The compact design makes it easy to integrate into existing instrumentation. The Nano-Man5 is designed for alignment applications that require three linear axes combined with tip/tilt capabilities. The included position sensors ensure picometer and nanoradian accuracy under closed loop control.

The MMP series comprises precision, stepper motor-driven micropositioning systems with up to 25mm of travel. They are available in one-, two-, or three-axis configurations but can be employed in a modular design. The proprietary intelligent control scheme results in exceptional stability with high native precision. The MMP series has been designed for use with closed loop nanopositioners.

The Nano-METZ is a compact z-axis piezo nanopositioning system designed for high speed scanning and ultra-low noise characteristics for demanding AFM, positioning, and metrology applications. The innovative design of the Nano-METZ and our exclusive PicoQ® sensor technology yields a resonant frequency of 14.5 kHz and a noise floor of 400 femtometers/√Hz. The result is unparalleled speed, response, and precision.

The Nano-Bio series offers ultra-low profile XY piezo nanopositioning systems with up to 300 microns of travel per axis. The Nano-Bio Series includes exclusive PicoQ® sensors yielding low noise and high stability performance under closed loop control. These attributes make this series ideal for single molecule microscopy, optical trapping, and atomic force microscopy.

The Nano-MTA Series are piezo nanopositioning mirror tip/tilt actuators. With nanoradian resolution, the Nano-MTA Series is ideal for applications involving laser beam steering, tracking, and scanning. Proprietary PicoQ® technology provides absolute, repeatable position measurement under closed loop control. The Nano-MTA series is capable of high speed, high stability motion and has been used in applications such as gravitational wave detection which need extremely stable and precise movement.

The MadPLL® is digital phase lock loop controller designed for use with Mad City Labs nanopositioning systems as part of a DIY resonant probe atomic force microscope (AFM). MadPLL® includes AFMView™2 software, probe boards and sensor amplifier. The supplied software features automated setup, configuration control, auto-Q calculation and automatic parasitic capacitance compensation (PCC) control.

The Nano-OP Series offers a versatile range of compact, single axis piezo nanopositioners. With travel ranges up to 100 microns and a robust design, these nanopositioners are used in many different applications. The inclusion of the PicoQ® sensors ensures low noise performance under closed loop control. The Nano-OP series has been used for AFM probe control, interferometry, and optical microscopy.


Mad City Labs, Inc.

2524 Todd Drive

Madison, WI 53713


Phone: 608 298-0855


  • Through a deep knowledge of sensing technologies, technically adept personnel, and experience across a bevy of applications, Mad City Labs helps our customers operate smaller and more cost-effectively than any competitor.

  • Magnetic tweezer experiments often seek to measure changes in the extension or relaxation of a polymer, a functionality useful, for example, in exploring how different enzymes manipulate polymer structures.


  • A team of Duke University researchers sought to explore the viral infection process before the virus has bonded to tissue, understanding how viruses navigate the epithelial space, through mucus and the periciliary layer.


  • Active feedback control can be accomplished in either a closed-loop system or an open-loop system, using various combinations of software and hardware, depending on the demands of the experiment.

  • The MMP series of micropositioners from Mad City Labs has a modular design and can be incorporated into many configurations suitable for microscopy, inspection, and imaging applications. The series is designed to be compatible with many optomechanical components and controlled via (supplied) LabView software.

  • Mad City Labs is the only nanopositioning company showing real-world experimental verification of <50-pm closed-loop step-resolution.

  • Moving from micron- to nanoscale-level research forces researchers to better understand their own actions’ impact on passive factors that undermine precision. Simple modifications to an experiment or instrumentation can help researchers achieve precision goals without additional processing.

  • Nanopositioner applications, utility, and functionality often are misunderstood — to the detriment of researchers whose experiments might benefit from the stability, precision, and repeatability these instruments offer.

  • Atomic force microscopes are ideal for nanomechanical characterization, bringing utility to nanoscopy applications and excelling in conditions where low light presents challenges or sample integrity is vital.

  • The Mad City Labs SPM etch kit is designed allow users to create a sharp tungsten tip suitable for scanning probe microscopy. The instrumentation allows the user to attach a tungsten wire to a quartz tuning fork and electrochemically etch the wire.