Piezo actuators, made from piezo ceramic material, are one of those elements that are manufactured without polymers, and consequently have a very low gas emission. That makes the material perfect for vacuum-compatible precision motion systems. Better yet, certain types even work in temperatures below 271 degrees Celsius.
Piezoelectric actuators are also exceptionally well-suited for applications where magnetic interference is unwanted. Positioning systems in non-magnetic environments are especially found in medical and biotechnology applications. The piezoelectric motors don’t create any electromagnetic interference, nor are they influenced by it. In strong magnetic fields, like MRI equipment, the actuators perform unimpeded, whereas other electronic motors with metal components make it impossible for motorized medical devices to function in aforementioned apparatus.
Piezo elements are a safe choice, but don’t rule out classic motion yet. Just because traditional motion, like the use of DC or stepper motors, can be a challenge in vacuum and non-magnetic environments, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Almost all stages can be modified for use in different classes of vacuum and can even be made of several axes. It all depends on the material you use.
When made of aluminum alloys, stainless steels, or titanium, special two-phase stepper motors can operate reliably up to 10-9 hPa. However, you do need a special vacuum lubricant to avoid outgassing and particle emission. To dissipate heat in vacuum environments, you can opt for a classic motion solution with a lower velocity. Your motion system can also be complemented with cables made of PTFE, Teflon, Kapton or PEEK.