Why isn’t the PICOSCALE measurement range limited to half the laser’s wavelength like in the interferometers I know?

We use a laser modulation/demodulation technique that yields quadrature signals. Consequently, the direction of motion becomes unambiguous and the dynamic range covers twelve orders of magnitude (picometers to meters).

Can I do differential measurements?

Yes, the Michelson principle allows determining differential displacements of two targets with a single sensor head! You find it ready-to-use in our portfolio. Differential measurements are beneficial, because air fluctuations are suppressed and position noise can be significantly lower.

I have an external device…how can I achieve synchronous data acquisition with the PICOSCALE?

The PICOSCALE features versatile trigger functionality and you can use the device as master or slave for synchronization. You may also want to make use of one of the analog-to-digital inputs of the interferometer, which are sampled synchronously with position data.

In what environments can I use the sensor heads?

As the sensor heads are very compact, completely electronic-free and only emit a few micro-watts of optical power, that are routinely used in ultra-high vacuum or cryogenic environments and can be baked out. For machine shop applications or other harsh environments, the optical fibers can be equipped with stainless steel protection tubing in order to increase robustness.



The standard fiber length of the sensor heads is 1.5 meter. Can I extend that?

The PICOSCALE operates with telecom wavelengths where losses in optical fibers are almost negligible. You can use long fiber patch cables (contact us to find the right one) to extend the length almost arbitrarily. Thus, controller and sensor heads can be set up far apart from each other.

What do I need to consider regarding the target reflectivity?

Due to the Michelson principle, target reflectivity is not crucial at all and the PICOSCALE always measures in single-path mode. Mirrors or retro-reflectors are typical, but you may use polished metal or other surfaces as well. If you are not sure if your target works out, contact us and we will test it for you. Please also consider our loan service, where you can convince yourself of the PICOSCALE.

How can I use the Interferometer in a feedback loop?

The PICOSCALE provides several interfaces to extract data. AquadB data are easily accessible as well as a serial data protocol. You may also output an analog voltage proportional to a position value. If you want to control SmarAct positioners, we highly recommend the SmarAct SI interface, which provides a direct link to the MCS2, for example. Furthermore, you may also want to close the loop in software – we provide libraries and software snippets for C/C++, LabVIEW™, python, and others.
Please note: As an outstanding feature, angle calculation is realized inside the PICOSCALE in real time and feedback loops for angle control are possible without additional software running on a PC!


Service & Costs

What does a PICOSCALE system cost?

Despite it exceptional performance you will find the pricing very competitive. Because of the many configuration options the exact price will strongly depend on your precise application, as we always want to offer optimal equipment. Do not hesitate to contact us and benefit from the expertise of our technical consultants.

I only need the PICOSCALE for a limited time… and how can you help me with my budget constraints?

No problem. We offer a loan service where you get the device only as long as you need it. If you consider keeping it afterwards – the loan fees will be set off the price.

What can I do if the PICOSCALE and its accessory do not fit exactly to my application?

Customization of our products is our daily business and ranges from slight modifications of existing products to completely new developments. SmarAct is proud to have a large team of technical sales managers, application engineers and technicians for rapid prototyping. Since we develop and produce all of our products in house, we can provide best possible time to market.

Can I benefit from your experience in fields of metrology?

We develop and work with metrology solutions for years. We are happy to share our ideas and knowledge with you to find the best solution for your metrology task.

How can I get support?

We have a team of application and support engineers taking good care of you! Call us or send an e-mail to

Any questions?
Contact us!

SmarAct Metrology

Technical Sales