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Physik Instrumente (PI) has collaborated with IMMS and the Department of Mechatronics at Ilmenau University of Technology to develop a nanopositioning system based on the principle of magnetic levitation. It has been designed for the semiconductor, life sciences and biotechnology sectors.

The platform levitates on a magnetic field that is generated by six coils and is actively monitored via a 6D sensor. The magnetic field functions as a drive and actively guides the platform.

The drive and the compact high-resolution measurement system for the six degrees of freedom were developed so that the platform would remain passive — in other words, no cable connections are necessary.

A two-dimensional, optically incremental measurement system records the position with capacitive sensors and serves to control the drive in all axes. In this way, objects can be moved linearly or rotationally on a plane with a previously unattained guiding accuracy.

Further information

  • The prototype currently has a motion range of 100 x 100 x 0.15mm³.
  • Trajectory motions can be carried out at an acceleration of up to 2m/sec² and a velocity currently of up to 100mm/sec with nanometre precision.
  • The digital motion controller, based on a modular system from PI, can process different geometry files as well as co-ordinate transformations.

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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