Category: Nanopositioning

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 […]

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 […]

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

1.  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 […]

6-Axis Parallel Kinematics for UHV Alignment and Active Vibration Cancellation for Semiconductor Applications

Inspection tools in the semiconductor industry, laser alignment and adjustment tools for the next generation of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) require highly accurate motion, often in all 6 degrees of freedom. Parallel kinematics structures provide an elegant and highly flexible way to achieve precise multi-axis motion. Different designs have found successful applications in 6D precision […]

Nanopositioning: How Mounting and Environmental Conditions Affect Performance

Nanopositioning equipment manufacturers can follow the latest design rules and put the best components into their mechanisms and controllers, often to no avail. If the user does not take the time to follow best practices for mounting, figuring out a suitable supporting structure, the right cable draping, and environmental conditions, much of the intrinsic performance […]

Tracking Down Nanometer Instabilities: Every Detail Matters

When you work with nanometer resolution motion equipment, details matter. Instabilities can be caused by a variety of things, ranging from floor disturbances leaking past isolation systems, to acoustic energy coupled into the application structure, to tuning issues with the motion system embedded in the application, to resonant excitation of structural elements of the setup. In real life applications, instabilities […]

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. […]

Overview of Different Piezo Motor Design Principles

The basic principle of the piezo ceramic motor has been known for almost 100 years. However, it took decades to get from an idea to a reliable, industrial product. Just like with electromagnetic motors, many different types have been developed and tested over the years. Today, one can say that piezo motors have become mainstream […]

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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 eleven subsidiaries, R&D / engineering on 3 continents and total staff of 950+.

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