Skip navigation

ATOM DX™ incremental encoder system with RKLF linear and partial arc scale


  • Digital output direct from the readhead
  • Readhead size: 20.5 x 12.7 x 10.85 mm (20.5 x 12.7 x 7.85 mm for top exit variant)
  • Resolutions down to 2.5 nm
  • Speed up to 20 m/s
  • Low Sub-Divisional Error (SDE) of <±75 nm for 20 µm version and <±120 nm for 40 µm version


  • Miniature package
  • No separate interface required
  • Filtering optics design enabling high dirt immunity
  • Advanced Diagnostic Tool for easy fault finding, challenging installations and servicing
  • Narrow 6 mm wide scale suitable for space limited applications
  • Suitable for partial arc measurement

Transparent patch for website banners

What is ATOM DX?

The ATOM DX encoder series is Renishaw's smallest incremental optical encoder  with digital output direct from the readhead. It provides positional feedback, onboard interpolation and filtering optics all in a miniature package. 

Detailed diagnostic information can be accessed by using the optional Advanced Diagnostic Tool ADTi‑100 and ADT View software for in‑field diagnostics, fault finding and to aid optimisation of encoder set-up in even the most demanding applications.

The ATOM DX encoder also offers resolutions down to 2.5 nm with a wide range of configurations.

ATOM DX is supplied in cabled and top exit variants with either 20 µm or 40 µm scale options.

What is RKLF scale?

RKLF is a narrow, low profile stainless steel tape scale featuring 20 µm and 40 µm pitch incremental graduations and IN-TRAC customer selectable reference marks. It is accurate to ±5 µm/m and available in lengths up to 20 metres (>20 m on request). The RKLF is mastered to the machine substrate giving improved metrological performance when the scale ends are rigidly fixed to the substrate.

The flexible RKLF scale is also suitable for partial arc measurement where the small cross-sectional area allows it to be wrapped around a drum, shaft or arc with a minimum radius of 26 mm.

Why choose this encoder system?

Miniature encoder for space critical applications

ATOM DX, available in sizes as small as 20.5 mm x 12.7 mm x 7.85 mm, allows for integration in the tightest of spaces. There are a number of options to choose from, including both cabled and top exit versions.

Easy fault finding and servicing

The Advanced Diagnostic Tool acquires comprehensive real-time data from ATOM DX encoder readheads. The information is displayed via the user-friendly ADT View software interface. Whilst in most cases the integral set-up LED on the encoder is sufficient for setting up the system, the ADT can be used to aid more challenging installations. The ADT can also report on encoder performance and assist system fault finding to avoid lengthy machine downtime.

Narrow, robust and versatile scale

RKLF is a robust, 6 mm wide stainless steel encoder tape scale with a thickness of 0.15 mm. This allows the scale, when rigidly fixed to a machine axis, to become ‘mastered' to the machine substrate, matching its thermal expansion coefficient and behaviour. Differential movement between the scale and the machine is thus minimised.

RKLF partial arc encoder scales

RKLF encoder scales can be conveniently cut to required length and mounted on a simple cylindrical substrate with no requirement for complex mounting features or tightly toleranced alignment surfaces.

Optional Advanced Diagnostic Tool ADTi-100

Advanced Diagnostic Tool ADTi-100

The ATOM DX encoder system is compatible with the Advanced Diagnostic Tool ADTi-100 and ADT View software. They provide comprehensive real-time encoder data feedback to aid more challenging installations and diagnostics. The intuitive software interface can be used for:

  • Remote calibration
  • Signal optimisation over the entire axis length
  • Reference mark indication
  • Digital readout of encoder position (relative to the scale)
  • Monitoring the velocity against time graph
  • Exporting and saving data

Technical specifications

Measuring standard

Narrow stainless steel tape scale with self-adhesive backing tape, for mounting directly to a substrate

Suitable for partial arc applications (minimum radius for partial arc: 26 mm)

Readhead size (LxWxH)

Cabled variant: 20.5 mm x 12.7 mm x 10.85 mm

Top exit variant: 20.5 mm x 12.7 mm x 7.85 mm

Scale pitch

20 μm and 40 µm

Coefficient of thermal expansion at 20°C

10.1 ±0.2 µm/m/°C

Accuracy grade at 20°C

20 μm: ±5 μm/m

40 μm: ±15 μm/m

40 μm (high accuracy): ±5 μm/m

Reference mark

Optical de-selectable

Limit switches


Scale length

Up to 20 m (>20 m on request)

Maximum speed          


Up to 20 m/s

(See data sheet for details)

Sub-Divisional Error (SDE)

20 µm version: typically <±75 nm

40 µm version: typically <±120 nm

Dynamic signal control

Real time signal conditioning including Auto Gain Control (AGC) and Auto Offset Control (AOC) for optimised performance across a range of operating conditions

Incremental signals

10 µm to 2.5 nm resolution

(See data sheet for details)

Electrical connection

Cabled variant: 0.2 m, 0.5 m, 1 m, 1.5 m, 2 m and 3 m cable lengths with D-type connectors (9 and 15 way)
0.5 m, 1 m, 3 m cable lengths with 10-way JST connector
Top exit variant: readhead with 10-way JST connector

Power supply

5 V -5/+10% typically <200 mA fully terminated

Vibration (operating)

100 m/s² max @ 55 Hz to 2000 Hz, 3 axes

Shock (operating)

1 000 m/s², 6 ms, ½ sine, 3 axes

Operating temperature

0 °C to +70 °C



Refer to data sheets for full details.


Data sheets

Installation notes


  • Software download: ADT View software version

How it works

The ATOM DX encoder employs the market proven filtering optics used in Renishaw incremental encoders such as TONiC and VIONiC. ATOM DX readheads feature a non-collimated LED light source located centrally between the incremental and reference mark sensors: this high divergence LED produces a low profile height with a footprint at the scale that is much larger than the LED, enabling illumination of incremental and reference mark regions. The incoherent LED produces a signal of high harmonic purity allowing high resolution interpolation. Efficient photometry also produces an output signal with low jitter. A significant benefit of this filtering optics scheme is that ATOM DX does not generate measurement errors due to scale undulation or contamination.

Fully integrated advanced dynamic signal conditioning methods, including Auto Gain Control, Auto Balance Control and Auto Offset Control, combine to ensure ultra-low Sub-Divisional Error (SDE) of typically <±15 nm.

The combination of filtering optics and carefully-selected electronics generates incremental position feedback signals with wide bandwidth achieving a maximum speed of 12 m/s with the lowest positional jitter (noise) of any encoder in its class. Digital signal interpolation is generated within the readhead, with fine resolution versions being further augmented by additional noise-reducing electronics to achieve jitter of just 1.6 nm RMS.

The ATOM DX encoder series uses a large, single feature, off-track optical reference mark for good contamination immunity. Phasing of the reference mark is achieved with a simple, intuitive auto-calibration routine, as used in the  QUANTiC™ and VIONiC™ encoder series.

ATOM™ optical scheme with annotations