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KoalaDrive® - Compact Nanopositioner for Scanning Probe Microscopy

The key technology in our products is a new piezoelectric nanopositioner called KoalaDrive®


  • Compact dimensions down to 2.5 mm diameter and 10 mm length

  • UHV, cryogenic, magnetic field compatible

  • Smooth travel, no shaking

  • Pulling/pushing force: up to 0.3 N

  • Single step size: 100 nm - 5 μm, stroke: several mm


The KoalaDrive® consists of two tube piezo elements mounted in series. The central tube is held by springs which are attached to the ends of the piezo tubes. The working principle of the KoalaDrive® is shown in the following movie.



The operating principle of the KoalaDrive® is demonstrated in the movie. It is based on the simple principle: "Two are stronger than one"

  • If only one spring moves, the tube is fixed by the other two
  • If two springs move simultaneously, the central tube moves together with them



Real time SEM movie shows the motion of a tip attached to the central tube of the KoalaDrive®. The movie shows two steps back and forth, each with 5 μm motion.



Real time movie showing the motion of the KoalaDrive® on a larger scale (tube diameter 0.7 mm). The individual steps can not be resolved on this scale. The maximum speed of the travel is 1 mm/s.


The KoalaDrive® allows very flexible solutions. If a short length of the KoalaDrive® is required, an alternative design with two piezo tubes stacked into each other can be chosen.

More information can be found also in this publication and on the website of our spin-off company mprobes

Ultra Compact STM with KoalaDrive®


Easy STM upgrade to existing surface analysis or MBE systems.

Integrating the KoalaDrive® nanopositioner as coarse approach inside a tube scanner pushes the design of SPMs towards ultra compact instruments.

A smaller size leads directly to a smaller thermal drift and increases the resonance frequencies, leading to insensitivity against external vibrations.

The Koala Drive® can be used for the coarse approach of the tip towards the sample. Inserting the KoalaDrive® in a piezo tube for xyz-scanning completes the Koala Drive® STM. The use of the Koala Drive makes the scanning probe microscopy design ultra compact and accordingly leads to a high mechanical stability.


Features of the KoalaDrive® STM

  • Ultra compact design
  • High mechanical stability
  • UHV, magnetic field and low temperature (4K) compatible
  • Easy integration of STM to existing surface analysis, cryostat or MBE systems
  • In situ tip and sample exchange
  • Easy adaption to any standard sample holder
  • Complete STM on a CF35 flange
  • STM/AFM combination available

We offer solutions meeting your specific requirements. Our toolbox of nanopositioners enables an easy design of custom scanning probe microscopy solutions.


Atomically resolved unfiltered STM data acquired with a KoalaDrive® STM on the (7x7) structure of a Si(111) sample (lateral scan size 30 nm x 30 nm). The lower image shows a line scan (not averaged) along the red line.


Au(111) herringbone reconstrction. Bottom: atomically resolved image.

More information can be found also in this publication and on the website of our spin-off company mprobes