Linear Actuators For Nanopositioning Applications

Physik Instrumente (PI) from Karlsruhe has launched the N-216 series of Nexline drives - a range of high-load linear actuators for nanopositioning applications. The actuators combine travel ranges of 20mm, pull or push forces of up to 600N and positioning accuracies in the nanometre range, the company said. The products are suitable for open-loop and closed-loop operation. The integrated encoder of the versions that can be operated in closed-loop mode has a resolution of 5nm over the total travel range.

In open-loop mode - for example, for highly dynamic applications - position resolutions of up to 30 picometres are achieved. In order to make the best possible adjustment of the drives to the relevant application, two different controllers are available. The E-755 offers all functions for a positioning with nanometre accuracy and therefore covers most applications well. The E-712 controller system additionally has improved linearisation algorithms for extremely steady motion and allows faster feed-forward motions with maximum force.

The Nexline drives produce the feed forward using a combination of longitudinal and shearing piezos, in other words, piezo actuators with different motion characteristics. If they are driven appropriately, clamping as well as driving motions can be realised that resemble the motion of a quadruped. The load can therefore be moved with constant speed over the total distance. In this way, the position can be actively re-adjusted after the target position is reached. This can be used to compensate vibrations. Since the drives have no moving parts, there is no mechanical play and no wear.


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