In operation, piezoceramic bending elements act on the ceramic runner, which is connected to the moving part of the application. The length of the runner determines the travel range. Force capacity, resolution and velocity are determined by the piezo geometry and drive electronics, and are scalable. To move the runner over longer distances the stepping mode is used, whereas for smaller distances, the linear sweep mode offers up to 7 microns of high-dynamics positioning with resolutions far below one nanometer and bandwidth in the kHz range. Because the principle is not based on sliding friction (as with ultrasonic or inertial motors) there is virtually no particulate generation. The NEXACT® drive principle offers very high repeatability and can hold a stable position to nanometers even when powered down.
Another advantage is the autolocking feature with virtually no heat dissipation at rest, a great improvement over stepper motors, thus eliminating laser drift. The ceramic actuators require no lubricants, so the NEXACT® drive principle is high-vacuum compatible, as well as being and non-magnetic. Because linear motion is generated in the first place, backlash, friction and wear as caused by conventional rotating tip actuators are not an issue here.
A compact benchtop controller with high-level command interface and comprehensive software driver package and OEM PCB versions are available to drive the actuators.