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High Stability Positioning Stage with Self-Clamping Ceramic Linear Motors Provides Long-Term Nanoscale Stability

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An insidious nanoscale instability process is the quasi-asymptotic settling due to lubricant flow processes in drive, alignment and adjustment elements such as lead-screws and micrometer drives. It has been thought that this progresses at the nanoscale over many minutes, but conventional position-metrology instrumentation is typically less stable than recent process tolerances over the timescales involved, so quantification of these issues has been lacking.

Figure 1. Optical tweezers are a tool of single-molecule biophysics which allow quantitative measurement of position with sub-nanometer resolution and, in dual-trap configurations, commensurate long-term stability. (From Neuman, Block [2])
Figure 1. Optical tweezers are a tool of single-molecule biophysics which allow quantitative measurement of position with sub-nanometer resolution and, in dual-trap configurations, commensurate long-term stability. (From Neuman, Block [2])

Researchers in the field of single-molecule biophysics utilized optical tweezers [Figure 1] in a configuration that allowed quantitative comparison of the stabilities of screw-driven and piezomotor-driven stages with sub-nanometer sensitivity over many minutes [1].  As in many semiconductor-industry applications, the test setup stacks coarse-positioning (resolution 0.1 micron) and fine-positioning motion elements (resolution 0.1 nanometer) in a sophisticated microscopy configuration. By swapping the coarse-positioning stage between screw-driven and piezomotor-driven models, the long-term, nanoscale stability provided by the piezomotors was quantitatively revealed.

Recent Advancements in Motion Control with Long-Term Nanoscale Stability
Recent Advancements in Motion Control with Long-Term Nanoscale Stability

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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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