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Physik Instrumente (PI) has introduced the S-303.BL phase shifter, which replaces the lead titanate/zirconate piezo ceramic PZT actuators typically used to align optical path lengths in laser measurement with pico actuators made of a crystalline, lead-free material.

According to PI, these crystalline pico actuators are characterised by a particularly high linearity, making precision positioning possible in open-loop operation as well.

In comparison with classic piezo ceramics, pico actuators have a smaller displacement that makes them better suited for applications requiring high dynamics, short travel ranges and high precision.

Open-loop operation eliminates the need for a position sensor, thus enabling cost savings and a simpler mechanical structure that prevents servo cycle delays occurring.

Key specifications

  • Suitable for optics in the range of a wavelength
  • High linearity
  • Smaller displacement than classic piezo ceramics
  • Precision of 6Nm with travel range of 0.3 micrometres — two per cent linearity
  • No position sensor needed in open-loop operation

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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