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Inmoco’s Mercury II 6000 series of encoders from MicroE Systems is suitable for demanding applications such as microscopy, life sciences, automated optical inspection and fibre-optics manufacturing.

The sensor measures just 8.2mm in height, weighs just 3g and provides output resolution as precise as 1.2nm.

It can be used with tape, linear glass or rotary scales with stick-on index and limits.

The Mercury II 6000 series can reduce the size and cost of many motion systems, while improving system performance in high-speed, high-resolution applications.

It opens up a new range of capabilities in compact, high-end motion control stages and positioners through its combination of accurate nanometre-level positioning, compact system design and low cost.

Designed for both linear and rotary applications, the Mercury II 6000’s excellent cyclical error (short-travel accuracy) of +/-20nm delivers the precise nano-positioning feedback and smooth velocity control of fine-pitch encoders costing two to three times more.

Key to attaining this performance is low jitter – essential for nanometre applications – which is achieved by a combination of optical design, signal processing electronics and a user-programmable low pass output filter.

In addition, low heat generation at the sensor minimises errors and distortions owing to thermal effects, resulting in high signal stability and up to +/-1.2nm of repeatability.

Output resolution is user programmable, ranging from 5um to 1.2nm, linear, and high-speed applications are supported by a fast A-quad-B output, providing up to 1m/s at 20nm resolution.

In addition, optional serial word output increases the encoder speed capability to 10m/s at 1.2nm resolution.

The simplicity of the Mercury II 6000 design enables fast setup to be achieved with minimal skill, according to Inmoco.

Key to this operation is the Mercury II’s optical system, which features the broadest alignment tolerances of any 20um-pitch encoder – particularly in the Theta Z axis.

Rotational tolerance about this axis is +/-2deg and ride height tolerance is +/-0.15mm.

Also optimising system setup time, adhesive-mount Pureprecision tape scales are claimed to provide accuracy, robustness and rapid installation.

The Pureprecision system allows the installer to cut any required length from a reel of tape scale.

The adhesive backing on the tape and an application tool do the rest, making installation fast and accurate.

Linear glass scales satisfy applications requiring long-range accuracy up to +/-1um.

Index and limit marks can be built in or applied as stick-on markers.

In order to satisfy a range of user requirements, three versions of the Mercury II 6000 series have been introduced, all with low power consumption: 50mA at 5VDC at the sensor.

Version 1 is supplied with digital outputs for A-quad-B, index, dual limits and alarm.

Version 2 is rated to 10 8 torr vacuum, and bake-out at 150C for 48 hours.

Version 3 is the Mercury II 6800Si, with high-speed serial output in SPI format for servo control at speeds up to 10m/s with 1.2nm resolution.

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