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The single-channel E-709 piezo controller from Physik Instrumente (PI) has been introduced for piezo-based positioners and scanners that use strain sensors.

Since the majority of the nanopositioning systems from PI employ such sensors, the E-709 allows significantly lower system costs in comparison with the digital controllers offered up until now, according to the company.

The biggest differences between the digital and analogue controllers are that all parameters can be influenced directly through the calculation algorithms using software commands.

The controller works with linearisation algorithms that improve the positioning accuracy of the piezo system to below 0.01 per cent.

When supplying commands using the digital SPI, USP and RS-232 interfaces, the digital technology allows the setting of motion and control parameters, and the programming of digital I/Os or the analogue exit via software.

The amplifier of the E-709 provides 5W output power (10W for less than 5ms) and is designed so that classic nanopositioning systems with travel ranges of up to 200um with an average scanning frequency of up to 100Hz can be operated.

Systems that fulfill these requirements are, for example, the P-620 PIHera linear stage and the P-721 and P-725 objective scanners of the PIFOC series.

The serial SPI interface with up to 25Mb/s is new.

With this interface it is possible to supply the commands for the voltage or position value for each control cycle and the controller is virtually supplied with commands in real time.

The data format can be chosen using floating-point values or fixed-point values with a variable bit width.

This is how the user can address the E-709 of his application.

The PI Mikromove and Nanocapture user software is supplied, along with Labview drivers and DLLs for the programming with Windows or Linux.

Compatibility with software platforms such as uManager, MATLAB or Metamorph is provided for applications in microscopy.

Capacitive sensors offer an improved resolution, linearity and stability, compared with the strain sensors supported by the E-709 until now.

They measure the position of the moving platform without contact and directly – with this it is possible for parallel kinematic systems to measure in a number of degrees of freedom at the same time.

The E-609 controller board uses a digital controller that can be optimised using software and the USB service interface.

Compared with completely analogue units, the integrated digital linearisation methods achieve considerably better linearisation values – according to the company.

The position is supplied using an analogue interface and the scope of the functionality has been diminished in comparison with the E-709.

Physik Instrumente

PI is a global manufacturer of high precision positioning systems and products based on piezo technology. Used in markets as diverse as biotechnology, semiconductor, defence and astronomy, PI’s products work to improve the speed and precision of many cutting edge processes. Actuators, sensors and positioning systems with either sub-micron or nanometre level precision; many customised for the end user, are included in the product range.

With manufacturing and subsidiary offices around the world and a workforce of more than 500 PI provides direct local support where it is needed. Products range from component level piezo ceramic assemblies to six axis hexapod positioning robots. PI manufactures its own piezo ceramic material including multilayer devices that incorporate its patented ceramic insulation technology. Lead free ceramic technology is now also included in the company’s product range. With the flexibility and continuity of supply offered by having control of piezo ceramic production comes security and speed of delivery for customers who rely on or are looking to move into this area of technology. PI’s piezo ultrasonic and step drive motor technologies offer unique performance including self-locking capability, high force or high speed and non-magnetic and vacuum compatibility.

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