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What are Linear Stages Used For?

What are Linear Stages Used For?

Linear stages are used to achieve precise and controlled linear motion. While they are assential in many applications across a variety of industries, linear stages are often overlooked. Yet, the precision and control they offer make them integral to scientific research, the technology sector, industrial manufacturing, medicine, and more.

Scientific Research

In scientific research, linear stages enable the manipulation and positioning of samples and instruments. offer the precision and control required for cutting-edge research and development. Serving as the backbone for accurate and repeatable results, many research applications benefit from the use of linear stage systems

Additionally, linear stages are integral to developing custom research setups, offering flexibility and precision for a wide range of scientific investigations.

Optics and Photonics

In optics and photonics research, the fine alignment of lenses, mirrors, and other optical components is critical.

Linear stages ensure light is directed and focused correctly in a variety of optical systems. They also enable precise control of laser beams in applications such as laser cutting, engraving, and optical trapping.

Their role in optics and photonics is vital for advancing technologies in telecommunications, imaging, materials analysis, and scientific research.


Precise positioning of samples and detection equipment relative to the light source is essential in spectroscopy. This is particularly important when the focus and alignment of the incident light can significantly impact the quality of data.

Linear stages can also be used to accurately map spectral data over the surface of a sample, contributing to techniques such as spectroscopic imaging.


In microscopy and imaging, the precision and accuracy of benchtop linear stages are indispensable. The accurate and repeatable positioning of the sample stage, allows for clear, detailed imaging of microscopic structures.

Microscope stages implement precise linear stage technology
Linear stages are used to position samples in microscopy

High-resolution microscopy, including techniques like scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy, heavily relies on the precise motion of linear stages. In techniques that require precise probe-sample interaction, linear stages are used to carefully control the position of the probe. In these instances, the linear stage would typically be built into the equipment as part of a single unit.

Materials Testing

In materials testing, a controlled force is applied to determine the material and mechanical properties. Tensile, compression, fatigue, creep and stress relaxation, and hardness tests all use the precise motion enabled by linear stages.

Ensuring precision and repeatability in materials testing, linear stages contribute to the development of advanced materials for aerospace, automotive, construction, and other industries.


Researchers working at the nanoscale often manipulate and assemble structures at the atomic or molecular level. Extremely high precision linear stages are critical for the accurate positioning and movement of nanomaterials.

Linear stages are the backbone of nanotechnology, driving advancements in materials science, electronics, and medicine. They enable scientists and engineers to explore, manipulate, and innovate at the nanoscale.

Semiconductor Manufacturing

Linear stages are found in the manufacturing sector, where they provide precision positioning of parts in assembly lines. High precision linear stages are employed in micro-manufacturing processes, such as semiconductor chip fabrication, where higher levels of accuracy and repeatability are required.

Linear stages technology is used to manufacture semiconductors, including wafer positioning.
Linear stages enable precise positioning of wafers in semiconductor manufacturing

Several critical processes apply linear stage motion:

  • Wafers are positioned precisely during fabrication steps, ensuring accurate alignment of circuit patterns.
  • Wafer features are measured and inspected for defects.
  • Semiconductors chips are positioned on substrates and connected to one another.

Their role in semiconductor manufacturing is vital for achieving high yields, ensuring device performance, and driving advancements in the electronics industry.

Medical Field

In biomedical research, linear stages are involved in high-resolution microscopy, where precise positioning enables clear, detailed images of microscopic samples. They are also critical in automated biomedical testing to position samples and test instruments with high accuracy.

Alongside this, linear stages are instrumental in:

  • DNA sequencing to provide accurate sample movement and data collection
  • Microfluids to control the flow of small volumes of liquid
  • Bioprinting to position print heads

Linear stages enhance accuracy and repeatability in medical and biotechnological processes, contributing to advancements in healthcare, drug development, and biological research.


In the technology sector, linear stages are used to precisely position robotic arms or components. They serve various critical roles:

  • End-effector positioning allowing a robot to pick, place, and manipulate objects with accuracy and repeatability.
  • Assembly and inspection of components with meticulous positioning control.
  • Material handling within conveyor systems, sorting, and packaging.
  • Scanning and sensing for detailed data collection and mapping.

Linear stages contribute to increased automation, productivity, and accuracy in various robotic applications.

3D Printing

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing uses linear stages for precise and controlled movement during the printing process. 

They aid in the production of accurate and intricate prototypes, functional parts, and custom designs across various industries, including aerospace, healthcare, and automotive.

Aerospace and Defence

Linear stages are indispensable for achieving precision and reliability in various critical sectors. Flight control systems, radar and optics alignment, weapon systems, testing and calibration, and space exploration all require precise motion control.

Flight control system
Flight control systems use linear stages to ensure accuracy

Enhancing the safety, accuracy, and effectiveness of aerospace and defence systems, the application of linear stages contributes to national security and technological advancements.

Linear Stage Applications

From the microscopic world of scientific research to the grand scale of aerospace and defense, linear stages are essential for precision and control across a multitude of industries and applications.

As technology continues to advance and industries evolve, the significance of linear stages in shaping the future remains steadfast. They are indispensable in the journey of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and industrial excellence.

Linear Stages

Linear Stages

Learn More

Linear stages can be combined to move in three directions Types of Linear Stage

There are lots of different types of linear stages which vary in drive mechanism, axis, precision, and length. With this, linear stage motion can be implemented into a wider variety of applications.

Close up of Ossila linear stage platform Do You Need a Linear Stage?

Whether you are involved in microscopy, spectroscopy, or metrology, a linear stage can be an invaluable tool. The decision to invest in a linear stage depends on the specific requirements of your application.



Written by

Imogen Pass

Editor and Writer

Reviewed by

Dr. Mary O'Kane

Application Scientist

We used pre-trained AI to help us write this page. As part of our editorial process, our in-house experts review, fact-check, and edit all AI-generated content to make sure we provide you with accurate and helpful information.

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