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 […]

Piezo Flexure Nanopositioning Stages: Frequently Asked Questions

A piezo nanopositioning stage is defined as a positioning device capable of nanometer or sub-nanometer resolution. There are several types of nanopositioners – PI also makes air bearing stages, linear motor stages and magnetic levitation stages; devices featuring the highest dynamics and precision are piezo-driven, flexure guided and equipped with direct metrology position feedback, such […]

Adaptive Optics – the Next Generation. 11,000 Actuators to Aid Search for Exoplanets with the E-ELT

PI and Fraunhofer IOF Cooperate on New Large Scale Adaptive Optics Project   Piezo-driven active mirrors (tip/tilt motion) and adaptive mirrors (multiple actuators deforming the mirror surface) have been employed in most high-end astronomical telescopes for more than two decades. The resolution gain compared to passive mirrors is typically more than one order of magnitude. […]

Piezo Transducers, Actuators, and Motor Drive Solutions for Medical Engineering

Medical engineering and life-science disciplines have multi-faceted requirements for motion and positioning equipment: the spectrum spans from ultrasonic transducers to simple low-energy drive components to high-precision positioning systems and ultra-fast actuators for valve and pumping applications. Piezoceramic transducers and motor drives meet these needs and have a long track record of reliability and ruggedness in […]

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 […]

Self-Locking Actuator for Hexapod Applications Combines High Push-Pull Force with Picometer Resolution for Active Optical Alignment in Astronomy

1. Introduction Astronomical telescopes usually employ active position control for primary mirror surfaces using motorized mechanical actuators. The motion needed is generally quasistatic, to compensate gravitational and thermal effects. Another application for precision actuators within the telescope at a significantly faster motion response is the high speed tip/tilt control of a secondary or tertiary mirror. […]

Ultra-High Precision Positioning Actuators to Align Mirror Segments in the E-ELT Telescope

Hybrid Concept Using Piezo / Voice Coil and Screw Drives for the E-ELT Telescope The combination of “coarse” precision screw drives for long distance motion and ultra-high resolution actuators such as piezo and voice-coil-based systems allows combining travel ranges up to hundreds of millimeters with response, smoothness and resolutions not achievable with conventional drives. The […]

Hexapods and Parallel Kinematics Positioning Systems FAQs

Hexapod positioners are often referred to as Stewart Platforms. A hexapod is based on a 6-axis (XYZ, Pitch, Roll, Yaw) actuator system arranged in parallel between a top and bottom platform. PI parallel kinematics (PKM) precision positioning systems have many advantages over serial kinematics stages, such as lower inertia, improved dynamics, smaller package size, and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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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