820A: Dual XYZ Motion Controller

The 820A Dual XYZ Motion Controller is Aurora Scientific’s answer to your complex micro positioning and micro movement problems. Designed to work with the 7600 series of Siskiyou motorized micro manipulators, the 820A controls the manipulators and tracks position of all 6 axes with stunning precision. The control electronics work in tandem with software to provide position readouts while providing movement control routines through a wizard that automates complex movements such as injection, vector positioning, coordinated movement and even rotation.

The 820A software can store the location of any important coordinates so the manipulators can be automatically returned to these points. Limits can also easily be set to ensure that accidental damage never occurs. Should you want to perform a manual adjustment, the positioners can still be driven with standard Siskiyou keypad or joystick controllers.

Whether for muscle physiology or any other research discipline requiring precision positioning, simplify and speed up your experiment with the 820A Dual XYZ Motion Controller.

  • closed-loop control of Siskiyou 7600 stages

  • ±20nm positioning accuracy

  • position coordinates displayed in absolute or relative units

  • programmable safety limits and way points

  • slave both left and right XYZ stages to allow translation of sample with no change in sample length

  • continuous, jog, move to position, sinusoidal, stretch/shorten, rotate, home and retract movements

  • injection movement (virtual 4th axis)

  • includes library of pre-defined experiment functions (intact cell attachment, assay stretch, more to come)

  • control via PC and Siskiyou pushbutton or joystick controls


820B 8-Axis Motion Controller:
Closed loop control of eight motorized stages to easily perform complex micro positioning with stunning precision.

Stories of Success

820A – Observing Cell Stretching under High Magnification


Dr. Chris Ward at the University of Maryland and an expert in single cell measurements, wanted to observe real-time change of cultured cells while under the stress of mechanical stretching. He was using Strex chambers and Siskiyou 7600 XYZ manipulators to perform the stretching motion.

The manipulators have only manual position controls and therefore could not be used to create a repeatable sinusoidal stretching motion. Furthermore, Dr. Ward found he could not observe the stretching cells under high magnification; they would move out of the field of view of the microscope. It is not possible to perfectly align the cell with the center of the Strex chamber and when the chamber is stretched the cells translate across the field of view and disappear.


Dr. Ward, a long-time supporter of Aurora Scientific, approached us to try our 820A Dual XYZ Motion Controller. The 820A provides closed-loop control of Siskiyou 7600 XYZ stages with position feedback and could be used to produce the required sinusoidal motion. A sinusoidal motion function was built into the 820A control software requiring the user to enter frequency, amplitude and number of cycles desired. When executed, this function drives the stages to produce the desired stretching motion. The Assay Stretch function was then added to the software to control the position of the cell during stretching under high magnification. This function superimposes a translation motion on the sinusoidal motion to hold the cell centered in the field of view as the sinusoidal oscillation occurs.


The 820A XYZ Dual Motion Controller was tested with a variety of cultured cells. Dr. Ward found that cell stretching was easy to program and the desired motion effectively produced. As expected, when used with the simple sinusoidal motion function the cells still moved across the field of view. At low magnification this should not be an issue as the cells remain within the field. At high magnification, however, the Assay Stretch function will be required. At this point, experiments using the Assay Stretch function have not been completed but testing at Aurora Scientific indicates that the function should meet the needs of Dr. Ward for samples under high magnification. He was able to integrate the 820A with his own XYZ manipulators and microscope to make measurements that otherwise would be difficult to achieve. Maintaining these cells in the field of view will enable Dr. Ward to integrate real-time fluorescence measurements of proteins activated during muscle cell stretching and their role(s) in disease states.

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Model # 820A
Positioning Accuracy [±µm] 0.02
Maximum Speed [mm/s] 1.7
Minimum Speed [µm/s] 2.0
Encoder Resolution [µm/tick] 0.005
Motor Drive Voltage [VDC] ±15
Stage Connectors DB-25
Controller Connectors DB-15
Hand Controllers Siskiyou Keypad (MC-1000e), Joystick (MC-1000e-J)
Stages Siskiyou 7600
Communication Port Ethernet (RJ-45)
Communication Speed [Mbps] 10/100
General Specifications 820A
Operating Temperature [°C] 0 – 40
Power Required 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz. available
Power Consumption [W] 50
Weight [kg] 3.1
Dimensions [cm] 21W (1/2 rack mount) x 25D x 9H (2U)
Software Specifications 820A
Move Controls On-screen arrows: up/down, XY +/-, XY diagonal +/-
Stage Control Left XYZ, Right XYZ, Both, Slaved
Move Type Jog or Continuous
Speed Controls User defined Fast/Slow, Speed Entry Text Box
Position Readout Digital indicators of position of all 6 stages
Position Visualization Graphical representation of position of all 6 stages
Software Limits User settable +/- limits on all 6 axes
Locate Probes Locates probes with respect to each other
Movement Functions Home, Retract, Waypoints, Move to Position, Virtual Axis, Sinusoidal Motion, Stretch/Shorten Move, Rotate/Align Probes
Experiments Intact Cell Attachment, Assay Stretch


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