Piezoelectric Gimbal Mount

  • True Gimbal Rotation with High Angular Range
  • Feedback Sensor Output Enables Closed-Loop Operation
  • Angular Scan Range: 30 mrad (Open Loop) or 20 mrad (Closed Loop)
  • Operated via Included Controller or PC


Piezoelectric Gimbal Mount with Included Controller

Piezo Gimbal Mount on Ø1/2" Post

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Piezoelectric Gimbal Mount Mechanical Drawing

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Piezoelectric Gimbal Mount with 30 mm Cage Rods


  • Strain Gauge Feedback Sensors for Closed-Loop Operation
  • Designed for Use with Included Controller
  • True Gimbal Rotation Maintains Stationary Center Point of a Mounted Optic
  • High Angular Range: 30 mrad (Open Loop) or 20 mrad (Closed Loop)
  • Compact Size: 65.0 mm x 81.7 mm x 21.0 mm (2.56" x 3.22" x 0.83")
  • SM1-Threaded (1.035"-40) Optic Bore for Ø1" Optics
  • 4-40 Tapped Through Holes for Integration with a 30 mm Cage System
  • Minimum Piezo Angular Adjustment: 0.1 arcsec (0.5 µrad)

The PGM1SE(/M) Piezoelectric Gimbal Mount has two axes that each rotate the mounted optic about a gimbal axis, keeping the center of the optic in a fixed position. Each axis is capable of scanning over a high piezoelectric angular range of 30 mrad with a resolution of 0.05 µrad in open-loop mode (20 mrad angular range and 0.14 µrad resolution in closed-loop mode). See the Specs tab for complete specifications.

A Ø1" optic can be mounted in the SM1-threaded optic bore and secured with the included SM1 retaining ring. The mount can hold optics between 2 mm and 7.5 mm thick; the optic is installed via the back of the mount, which keeps the optic surface coincident with the gimbal axes, regardless of the optic thickness. We do not recommend mounting an SM1 lens tube to the threading as it will apply excessive torque to the gimbal element.

Six 8-32 (M4) tapped holes on the optic mount allow it to be mounted on a Ø1/2" post. Additionally, four 4-40 tapped holes around the optic bore on both sides of the mount provide compatibility with 30 mm cage systems.

Each mount is shipped with a piezo controller that has been factory calibrated to the specific mount and supplies a voltage of -25 to +150 VDC. Piezo control is supported through the included Kinesis® and APT™ GUIs, either locally using the paired controller or by using an externally supplied control voltage. See the Software & External Control tab for more details. The controller offers USB and RS-232 interfaces for computer control, a BNC input for the addition of external drive signals, and a BNC output that gives either positioning feedback from the mount’s built-in capacitive sensors or a signal proportional to the piezo drive voltage. In addition, a DB15 connector provides signals that can be used for synchronization with external equipment. A USB 2.0 (A to B) cable is included.

Mount Specifications
Piezo Specifications
Open Loop Angular Scanning Range 30 mrad ±15%
Closed Loop Angular Scanning Range 20 mrad
Bidirectional Repeatabilitya 0.32 mrad
Bidirectional Accuracyb 0.49 mrad
Crosstalkc 0.56 mrad
Orthogonality Ch1 (X) to Ch2 (Y) 1.85°
Angular Resolution 0.05 µrad (Open Loop)
0.14 µrad (Closed Loop)d
Resonant Frequency (7.0 g Load) 360 Hz ±15%e
Maximum Load 50 g (0.11 lbs)
Maximum Recommended Operating Bandwidth 50 Hz
Maximum Angle of Incidence 55° Typicalf
Piezo Input Voltage -25 to +150 V
Capacitance (per Axis) 3.5 µF ±15%
Closed Loop Stability ±5.0 µrad
Piezo Drive Connectors Male SMCg
Strain Gauge Connectors Male 7-Pin LEMOg
Mechanical Specifications
Optic Size Ø25.4 mm (Ø1.00")
Clear Aperture Ø22.9 mm (Ø0.90")
Optic Thickness 2 mm (0.08") Min
7.5 mm (0.30") Max
Cage System Compatibility Four 4-40 Taps for 30 mm Cage Rods
Post Mounting Features 8-32 (M4) Mounting Taps
  • Maximum Error when Attempting to Achieve Same Position Over Multiple Attempts
  • Maximum Error between Expected Position and Actual Position
  • Maximum Movement in One Axis when Moving Other Axis. This value should be added to the Bidirectional Repeatability and Bidirectional Accuracy to determine the total error in position.
  • With Included Piezo Controller and Defined by Smallest Drive Voltage Step Size
  • Typical, with 6 mm Thick, Ø1" Mirror
  • Varies with beam diameter. Specification is typical for a Ø2.5 mm (Ø0.1") beam.
  • A cable bundle that includes both the piezo drive input and feedback output for both piezo channels is included with the mount.
Controller Specifications
Piezoelectric Output
Output Voltage -30 to 150 VDC
Output Current 150 mA
Voltage Stability 100 ppm over 24 hoursa
Noise <0.5 mV RMS (Bandwidth 20 Hz to 100 kHz)
Typical Piezo Capacitance 1 to 10 µF
External Input (BNC)
Input Impedance 10 kΩ
Input Voltage -10 to +10 VDC
Absolute Maximum Input Voltage ±20 VDC
Input Voltage for Full Range 10 VDC ±2%
External Output (BNC)
Output Voltage Range 0 to 10 V (Nominal for Full Range)b
Minimum Recommended Load Impedance 10 kΩ
Protection Protected Against Short Circuit
Scaling Factor (HV Monitor) 1/15 (10 V for a Piezo Voltage of 150 V)
User Input/Output (D-Type 15 Pin Female)
4 Digital Inputs TTL Levels
4 Digital Outputs Open Collector
Trigger Input TTL
Trigger Output TTL, 5 V Logic
User 5 V 100 mA Max
Input Power Requirements (IEC Connector)
Voltage 24 VDC ±5%
Supply Current <4 A
Protection Internal Fuse, 4 A Slow Blow
  • After 30 minute Warm Up
  • Output Can Swing Negative in Certain Circumstances

For more information on the controls and connectors on the PPC102 controller, please see the PGM1SE(/M) manual for Kinesis® or APT™.

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Front Panel of the Piezoelectric Gimbal Mount Controller

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Back Panel of the Piezoelectric Gimbal Mount Controller
Front Panel Controls
Callout Label Description
1 Power Button and LED Applies and Removes Power to the Controller
2 Closed Loop Button and LEDa Switches the Unit to Closed-Loop Operation
3 Midpoint Button and LEDa Moves the Associated Channel to its Midpoint Position
Open Loop: Sets Drive Voltage to 60 V
Closed Loop: Sets Angular Position to 0 mrad
4 Position Wheela Adjusts the Drive Voltage and/or Angular Position
  • For each channel, there is one Closed Loop button, one Midpoint button, and one position wheel.
Back Panel Controls
Callout Label Description
1 Channel 1 / 2 Provides the Drive Signal to the Piezo Actuator Connected to the Associated Channel
2 Monitor 1 / 2 Used to Monitor the Piezo Actuator on an Oscilloscope or Other Device
3 Ext In 1 / 2 Used to Control the Piezo Mount from an External Source
Open Loop: -2 to +10 V gives -25 to 150 V Drive Voltage
Closed Loop: 0 to +10 V gives ±10 mrad Adjustment
4 User Contains a Number of Connections for Programmable Logic Linesa
5 RS232 Provides Connection for Serial Port Communication
6 USB USB Port for PC Operation
7 24 V, 4 A Power Supply (Included)
  • Using the Kinesis software, these user-programmable logic lines can be deployed in applications requiring control of external devices such as relays, light sources, and other auxiliary equipment.

Piezo Mount Pin Diagrams

Piezo Drive
SMC Male

Input Voltage: -25 to +150 V

Strain Gauge Feedback
7-Pin LEMO

Piezo Controller Pin Diagrams

Channel 1 / Channel 2 Connectors

Stage Controller Connector

Pin Description Pin Description
1 High Voltage Ground (Return) 8 HV Ground (Return)
2 Not Used 9 Not Used
3 Not Used 10 Stage IDb
4 Sine Wave Excitation Output 11 Low Voltage Ground
5 Not Used 12 Low Voltage Ground
6 +15 V (Preamp Supply)a 13 Piezo ID (Legacy Stages)b
7 Low Voltage Ground 14 Position Sense Input
(Strain Gauge)
Position Sense Input
(Strain Gauge)
15 -15 V (Preamp Supply)a
HV Output
  • Power supply for the piezo actuator feedback circuit. Do not use this pin to drive any other circuits or devices.
  • This signal is applicable only to Thorlabs actuators. It enables the system to identify the piezo extension associated with the actuator.

User Connectora

Female DB15


Pin Description Return Pin Description Return
1 Digital Output 1 5, 9, 10 9 Digital Ground -
2 Digital Output 2 5, 9, 10 10 Digital Ground -
3 Digital Output 3 5, 9, 10 11 For Future Use
(Trigger Out)
5, 9, 10
4 Digital Output 4 5, 9, 10 12 For Future Use
(Trigger In)b
5, 9, 10
5 Digital Ground - 13 Digital Input 4 5, 9, 10
6 Digital Input 1 5, 9, 10 14 5 V Supply Output 5, 9, 10
7 Digital Input 2 5, 9, 10 15 5 V Supply Output 5, 9, 10
8 Digital Input 3 5, 9, 10
  • Details on this connector are available in Appendix A.2 of the manual.
  • This pin effectively replicates the function of the Closed Loop button on the front panel. The unit can be switched between open-loop and closed-loop operation by connecting an external, normally-open button between this pin and ground. A 5 V TTL signal can also be used.

Computer Control via RS-232

Male DB9

9Pin DIN Male

Pin Description Pin Description
1 Not Connected 6 Not Connected
2 RX (Controller Input) 7 Not Connected
3 TX (Controller Output) 8 Not Connected
4 Not Connected 9 Not Connected
5 Ground

Computer Control via USB

Female Type B USB

DB9 Female

External Input

BNC Female

BNC Female

Input Voltage: -10 V to +10 V
Input Impedance: 10 kΩ

External Output

BNC Female

BNC Female

Output Voltage: 0 V to +10 V
Output Impedance: 100 Ω
Minimum Recommended
Output Impedance: 10 kΩ


APT Version 3.21.5

The APT Software Package includes a GUI for control of the Piezo Objective Scanner.

Also Available:

  • Communications Protocol

Software Download


Kinesis Version 1.14.25

The Kinesis Software Package includes a GUI for control of the Piezo Objective Scanner.

Also Available:

  • Communications Protocol

Software Download

Capture Setup Tab in ThorImageLS
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Graphical View of Piezo Operation in the Kinesis® GUI

The gimbal mount can be driven using the included standalone Kinesis® GUI, the legacy APT™ GUI, or an externally supplied control voltage. Complete details on control are available in the manuals for Kinesis and APT (PDF links).

Open-Loop Operation vs. Closed-Loop Operation
There are two operating modes for the mount: open loop and closed loop. In open-loop operation, which supports an adjustment range of 30 mrad ± 15%, the user controls the piezo drive voltage (in V). The applied drive voltage corresponds to some amount of angular adjustment. For piezoelectric materials, this displacement does not depend linearly on the applied voltage: it exhibits nonlinearity and hysteresis. It is therefore not straightforward to adjust the mount by choosing the drive voltage. The scanner's built-in capacitive feedback sensors measure the angular position with 0.05 µrad resolution in open-loop operation.

In closed-loop operation, which supports an adjustment range of 20 mrad, the user directly controls the angular position (in mrad). The built-in capacitive feedback sensors measure the objective displacement with 0.14 µrad resolution and automatically adjust the drive voltage in order to correct for inaccuracies in closed-loop operation.

Standalone Kinesis and APT GUIs
The Kinesis and APT GUIs support both open- and closed-loop operation. The piezo drive voltage or angular position can be directly typed in, changed by dragging the output knob (APT only), or incremented or decremented in fixed, user-defined amounts.

Piezo Controller GUI
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Kinesis® GUI Panel During Open-Loop Operation
Piezo Controller GUI
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Kinesis® GUI Panel During Closed-Loop Operation

In addition, the GUIs enable software-based PID loop tuning. The default settings are designed to provide stable operation in most applications, but fine tuning the PID loop helps account for the specific optics installed in the mount, reducing positional overshoots and ringing about the commanded angular position.

Externally Supplied Control Voltage
An external voltage can be applied using the external input BNC connector on the controller. In open-loop operation, the input voltage range of -2 V to +10 V corresponds to a drive voltage range of -25 V to +150 V, while in closed-loop operation, a the input voltage range from 0 V to +10 V corresponds to ±10 mrad angular adjustment.

DB15 Connector
The DB15 connector on the controller provides several electrical signals that can be used to synchronize the movement of the piezo stage with other equipment. Details on this connector are available in Appendix A.2 of the Kinesis and APT manuals (PDF links).

Thorlabs' Kinesis® software features new .NET controls which can be used by third-party developers working in the latest C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any .NET compatible languages to create custom applications.

This programming language is designed to allow multiple programming paradigms, or languages, to be used, thus allowing for complex problems to be solved in an easy or efficient manner. It encompasses typing, imperative, declarative, functional, generic, object-oriented, and component-oriented programming. By providing functionality with this common software platform, Thorlabs has ensured that users can easily mix and match any of the Kinesis 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 the low-powered, single-axis to the high-powered, multi-axis systems and control all from a single, PC-based unified software interface.

The Kinesis System Software allows two methods of usage: graphical user interface (GUI) utilities for direct interaction 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.

For a collection of example projects that can be compiled and run to demonstrate the different ways in which developers can build on the Kinesis motion control libraries, click on the links below. Please note that a separate integrated development environment (IDE) (e.g., Microsoft Visual Studio) will be required to execute the Quick Start examples. The C# example projects can be executed using the included .NET controls in the Kinesis software package (see the Kinesis Software tab for details).

C Sharp Icon Click Here for the Kinesis with C# Quick Start Guide
Click Here for C# Example Projects
Click Here for Quick Start Device Control Examples
C Sharp Icon

LabVIEW can be used to communicate with any Kinesis- or APT-based controller via .NET controls. In LabVIEW, you build a user interface, known as a front panel, with a set of tools and objects and then add code using graphical representations of functions to control the front panel objects. The LabVIEW tutorial, provided below, provides some information on using the .NET controls to create control GUIs for Kinesis- and APT-driven devices within LabVIEW. It includes an overview with basic information about using controllers in LabVIEW and explains the setup procedure that needs to be completed before using a LabVIEW GUI to operate a device.

Labview Icon Click Here to View the LabVIEW Guide
Click Here to View the Kinesis with LabVIEW Overview Page
Labview Icon

The APT video tutorials available here fall into two main groups - one group covers using the supplied APT utilities and the second group covers programming the APT System using a selection of different programming environments.

Disclaimer: The videos below were originally produced in Adobe Flash. Following the discontinuation of Flash after 2020, these tutorials were re-recorded for future use. The Flash Player controls still appear in the bottom of each video, but they are not functional.

Every APT controller is supplied with the utilities APTUser and APTConfig. APTUser provides a quick and easy way of interacting with the APT control hardware using intuitive graphical control panels. APTConfig is an 'off-line' utility that allows various system wide settings to be made such as pre-selecting mechanical stage types and associating them with specific motion controllers.

APT User Utility

The first video below gives an overview of using the APTUser Utility. The OptoDriver single channel controller products can be operated via their front panel controls in the absence of a control PC. The stored settings relating to the operation of these front panel controls can be changed using the APTUser utility. The second video illustrates this process.

APT User - Overview
APT User - OptoDriver Settings

APT Config Utility

There are various APT system-wide settings that can be made using the APT Config utility, including setting up a simulated hardware configuration and associating mechanical stages with specific motor drive channels. The first video presents a brief overview of the APT Config application. More details on creating a simulated hardware configuration and making stage associations are present in the next two videos.

APT Config - Overview
APT Config - Simulator Setup
APT Config - Stage Association

APT Programming

The APT Software System is implemented as a collection of ActiveX Controls. ActiveX Controls are language-independant software modules that provide both a graphical user interface and a programming interface. There is an ActiveX Control type for each type of hardware unit, e.g. a Motor ActiveX Control covers operation with any type of APT motor controller (DC or stepper). Many Windows software development environments and languages directly support ActiveX Controls, and, once such a Control is embedded into a custom application, all of the functionality it contains is immediately available to the application for automated operation. The videos below illustrate the basics of using the APT ActiveX Controls with LabVIEW, Visual Basic, and Visual C++. Note that many other languages support ActiveX including LabWindows CVI, C++ Builder, VB.NET, C#.NET, Office VBA, Matlab, HPVEE etc. Although these environments are not covered specifically by the tutorial videos, many of the ideas shown will still be relevant to using these other languages.

Visual Basic

Part 1 illustrates how to get an APT ActiveX Control running within Visual Basic, and Part 2 goes on to show how to program a custom positioning sequence.

APT Programming Using Visual Basic - Part 1
APT Programming Using Visual Basic - Part 2


Full Active support is provided by LabVIEW and the series of tutorial videos below illustrate the basic building blocks in creating a custom APT motion control sequence. We start by showing how to call up the Thorlabs-supplied online help during software development. Part 2 illustrates how to create an APT ActiveX Control. ActiveX Controls provide both Methods (i.e. Functions) and Properties (i.e. Value Settings). Parts 3 and 4 show how to create and wire up both the methods and properties exposed by an ActiveX Control. Finally, in Part 5, we pull everything together and show a completed LabVIEW example program that demonstrates a custom move sequence.

APT Programming Using LabVIEW -
Part 1: Accessing Online Help
APT Programming Using LabVIEW -
Part 2: Creating an ActiveX Control
APT Programming Using LabVIEW -
Part 3: Create an ActiveX Method
APT Programming Using LabVIEW -
Part 4: Create an ActiveX Property
APT Programming Using LabVIEW -
Part 5: How to Start an ActiveX Control

The following tutorial videos illustrate alternative ways of creating Method and Property nodes:

APT Programming Using LabVIEW -
Create an ActiveX Method (Alternative)
APT Programming Using LabVIEW -
Create an ActiveX Property (Alternative)

Visual C++

Part 1 illustrates how to get an APT ActiveX Control running within Visual C++, and Part 2 goes on to show how to program a custom positioning sequence.

APT Programming with Visual C++ - Part 1
APT Programming with Visual C++ - Part 2


For assistance when using MATLAB and ActiveX controls with the Thorlabs APT positioners, click here.

To further assist programmers, a guide to programming the APT software in LabVIEW is also available here.

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Items Included with PGM1SE(/M) (North American Power Cord Shown)

Item # PGM1SE(/M) consists of the following:

  • PGM1S(/M) Piezoelectric Gimbal Mount
  • PPC102 Piezo Controller
  • Dual-Channel Piezo Drive and Strain Gauge Feedback Cable Bundle
  • USB 2.0 A-to-B Cable
  • Power Supply and Region-Specific Power Cord

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