Heason Provides Precision Ceramic Motor System

Heason Technology has supplied a 2m travel, high-vacuum compatible ceramic motor system to Diamond Light Source for the I12 Jeep (Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing) beamline. Capable of positioning within a 50nm resolution over the full travel range and with speeds up to 80mm per second, the linear motor is used in a specially built cryo-cooled Laue monochromator, helping to deliver high-energy X-rays for a variety of scientific experiments.

The I12 beamline, which is currently being commissioned, has two in-line experimental hutches rather than a single area where samples are analysed. The first hutch (EH1) is in the main Diamond Experimental Hall, while the second hutch (EH2) is in a large purpose-built external building. The adjustable beam energy range (from 50keV to 150keV), allows a broad range of applications including imaging and tomography, X-ray diffraction and small angle X-ray scattering.

The second hutch is able to accommodate large-scale engineering and processing experiments that could involve fully assembled structures such as complete aircraft engines undergoing detailed creep-fatigue testing during high-temperature cycling, or historical artefact analysis that preserves the complete and possibly priceless object. The Laue monochromator was designed and built by the I12 beamline team at Diamond. The Heason-supplied ceramic motor system provides the full translation of the crystal along the beam over a 2m travel range, positioning the stack of equipment that is used to bend the second crystal to achieve the desired characteristics.

A second pair of Heason supplied ceramic motors also translates the crystal and bending stack orthogonally across the beam with a 200mm travel range. One of the primary reasons for selecting ceramic motor technology for this application is the inherent stability of the motors - with power removed, the motor locks and holds its position completely with no drift, removing a potential vibration source, which is critical to the monochromator's performance. The long travel axis motor comprises two pairs of HR8 ceramic motors from Heason's distribution partner Nanomotion, interacting with ceramic drive strips on either side of the beam.

The motor was installed by the Diamond beamline team with linear-motion guide bearings and a tape-style optical encoder system with a 50nm resolution. The 2m drive strips are an intrinsic part or the motor system ensuring smooth motion and optimal performance. For such long travel requirements the ceramic material is bonded to a steel strip for maximum durability. The total mass acting on the ceramic motor system is in the order of 25kg and a force of 128N was specified to move the load at the desired speeds of up to 80mm/s.

Another specification for the ceramic motor included operation in vacuum up to 10-10 Torr. The HR-8 is a compact high-precision ceramic motor with a maximum speed capability of 250mm/s. It can be supplied in high vacuum or ultra-high vacuum versions for operation at 10-10 Torr. Heason also supplied Nanomotion AB1a driver amplifiers for this application.


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