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PI’s range of high-precision stages – the Nanocube P-611 XYZ nanopositioning systems – have demonstrated their ability in new fields of application.

The cube sides measure 44mm, making it easy to integrate and suitable for travel ranges up to 100 x 100 x 100um.

The stages are driven by piezo actuators and achieve resolutions of up to 0.2nm at response times in the millisecond range.

The basic (open-loop) model is designed for high-resolution positioning where the absolute position is of secondary importance or the control loop is closed externally.

This is the case with tracking or fibre-positioning applications, for example.

A closed-loop version with integrated position sensors is available for applications that require high accuracy in absolute terms and in terms of repeatability.

Both versions use preloaded high-performance piezo actuators, which are integrated into a friction-free, zero-backlash guiding system with FEM optimised flexures.

The actuators, guides and sensors are non-wearing, making the systems reliable and durable.

One example can be found in a product from Teem Photonics, which uses the Nanocube P-611 in the uFab3D microfabrication system.

The system builds three-dimensional microstructures and objects in light-sensitive materials such as polymers, proteins or noble metals.

The microfabrication system operates on the basis of two-photon absorption, where a pulsed beam of laser light is used to achieve a sufficiently high supply of energy at the focus.

This changes the material structure by polymerisation, cross linking of proteins or precipitations of metal ions.

The typical fields of application include microfluidics, cell biology and the manufacture of photonic crystal structures in micro-optics.

The resolution of the system, or the size of the machining points – which can be anywhere within the object – is 200nm.

The objects are fabricated on the fly at a speed of 100um/sec.

For a homogenous and high-quality result, the laser and the machining points must be aligned precisely and with constant speed.

The Nanocube P-611 provides the optimum conditions here, with a travel range of 100 x 100 x 100um.

Since the size of the object to be machined is currently limited solely by the travel range of the piezo system, a system with greater travel ranges will be used in the future.

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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