Performance, Resolution, and Velocity Control of Stepper Motor-Driven Precision Positioners

Stepper Motor Basics Many processes in production, automation, and research rely on precisely moving, adjusting and aligning tools, optics, and components. Precision positioning equipment, based on a rotating electric motor and some kind of screw drive or worm gear drive to transfer and convert the output at the motor shaft into motion at the positioning […]

Piezo Flexure Actuators, Nanopositioners, and Other Piezo Mechanisms for Precision Motion Control Applications

Flexure-guided and motion-amplified actuators and positioning stages provide convenience and performance for the OEM designer and scientist. Piezo actuators, a special form of electro-ceramics, are the gold standard when it comes to precision, speed, and force in a small package. To make them more accessible for the OEM designer, manufacturers package the actuators inside an […]

History and Future of Photonics Alignment Automation, Test & Assembly of SiP Components

From Electronics to Photonics The first computer link using optical fibers was commissioned four decades ago to safeguard communications from electromagnetic interference at the Cheyenne Mountain strategic command center [1]. Since then we have seen broad adoption of photonic communications technologies in an unfolding pattern of consistently diminishing physical scale: As a replacement for costly […]

Novel Sample Stage Alignment Hexapod for X-ray Microscopy and Tomography

Hexapod with Additional Linear Encoders to Achieve the Highest Precision 1. Application: X‑Ray Microscopy / Tomography For synchrotron-based sub-micrometer hard X‑ray Tomography, the sample rotation axis must be aligned very precisely in at least five degrees of freedom with respect to the field of view, the lens, the detector or the beam itself. High stiffness […]

Air Bearings are Critical in CMM and Metrology Applications

Air bearings have played a crucial role in the development and construction of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and other metrology tools for decades. Since they are inherently frictionless and highly stable, air bearings play a key role in delivering the precision required in metrology equipment. Performance criteria, such as repeatability and minimized error motions, geometric […]

Advances in Piezo Nanopositioning Controllers – Digital vs. Analog

Digital piezo nanopositioning controllers have a reputation for being expensive and only cost efficient in high-end applications. A recent new design approach has changed this situation, making advanced digital control features affordable for main stream piezo motion applications. History of Digital Motion Controllers Position control for magnetic motors has been almost exclusively digital for nearly […]

Advances in Precision Motorized Positioning Systems: Selection Criteria

Motion drive and control technologies are advancing rapidly. This means engineers have access to an expanding spectrum of options to leverage previously unattainable performance and form factors. Rapidly evolving production processes have driven needs for motion control systems that provide higher accuracy, speed, resolution, and repeatability. The motion industry has responded with an expanding palette […]

Surface Slope Metrology: High Precision Tilt Stage Achieves 30nrad Absolute Accuracy

A recent paper shows significant advances in the accuracy of long trace profilers, auto-collimator based deflectometers, and other surface metrology instrumentation. Scientists at the ALS X-Ray Optics Laboratory, HZB/BESSY-II and PTB devised a new universal calibration method for deflectometers.  One key component in the system is a high accuracy, piezo-motor-driven flexure tilt stage developed in […]

Sinusoidal Scanning Motion Performance: Air Bearings vs. Mechanical Bearings

Application Description Most of the motion solutions we work on typically require either point-to-point positioning or constant velocity scanning motion. In these applications, customers are usually concerned with accuracy, repeatability, or velocity regulation. One special type of motion that is occasionally required is sinusoidal scanning motion. In these applications, the motion stage is expected to […]

PI Technology Blog

PI Technology Blog: Insights on Precision Motion Control, Positioning, and Automation Solutions PI’s tech blog offers over 40 years of insight into innovative applications of precision motion control, nanopositioning, and micropositioning in industry, science, and research. We hope the PI blog is an enjoyable and informative resource, and a starting-point for innovation across disciplines. We […]

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About PI

PI (Physik Instrumente) is a leading manufacturer of precision motion control equipment, piezo motors, air bearing stages and hexapod parallel-kinematics for semiconductor applications, photonics, bio-nano-technology and medical engineering. PI has been developing and manufacturing standard & custom precision products with piezoceramic and electromagnetic drives for 4 decades. The company has been ISO 9001 certified since 1994 and provides innovative, high-quality solutions for OEM and research. PI is present worldwide with fifteen subsidiaries, R&D / engineering on 3 continents and total staff of more than 1,000.

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