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PI Ceramic has introduced the Picoactuator, a lead-free piezo actuator with high linearity for higher system bandwidth.

With the Picoactuator, the company offers longitudinal and shear actuators that are made of the PIC 050 crystalline piezoelectric material.

In contrast to the classic piezo actuator made of lead zirconate-lead titanate (PZ), Picoactuators show a high degree of linear displacement.

PI said this equates to 10 times higher linearity with 10 times lower displacement.

Picoactuators are configurable up to heights of 20mm and maximum travel of +/-3um.

The company said fields of application are in the precision positioning technology if the small displacement is enough, and at the same time high dynamics and accuracy (linearity) is required.

The high linearity means the actuators can be operated without position control, which can improve the dynamics and system bandwidth by up to one order of magnitude.

Application examples include probe scanners in atomic force microscopy with more than 100Hz scanning frequency.

Another example is high-resolution microscopy, where conventional piezo scanners with a vertical axis are equipped with Picoactuators to reduce deviations from the planar scan to less than 1nm in the Z axis.

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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