- ProductsProductsPI is a worldwide leading supplier of solutions in the fields of motion and positioning. PI does not only develop and produce a broad range of positioning stages and actuators for linear, rotary and vertical motion or combinations of different axes. PI also adapts those solutions to customer-specific applications or supplies finished subsystems for motion and positioning.
- New ProductsNew ProductsOn this site you will find our current new products. If you want to find out more, just contact us: Our sales engineers will get back to you as quickly as possible.
- Product FinderProduct FinderSelect the product type specified by the axes of motion required. Selection of more criteria expands or shortens the list of results. Select more than one filter at a time, for example, to find positioning stages designed for higher load capacity, too.
- Customized ProductsCustomized ProductsPI is fully at home where unconventional solutions are in demand. This is no longer limited to fields of research. Today, nanotechnology is also present in standardized industrial processes.
- Nanopositioning Piezo Flexure StagesNanopositioning Piezo Flexure StagesPI's piezo flexure stages combine sub-nanometer resolution and guiding precision with minimum crosstalk.
- Multi-Axis Piezo Flexure StagesMulti-Axis Piezo Flexure StagesPI’s multi-axis piezo flexure stages allow positioning and scanning with sub-nanometer precision in up to 6 axis, including tip, tilt and yaw motion. Versions range from most compact cube design to large aperture and low profile.
- PIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for MicroscopyPIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for MicroscopyPiezo flexure stages and objective scanners of the PIFOC® and PInano® series offer high dynamics in positioning and scanning tasks. Well adapted solutions for XY specimen positioning parallel and vertical to the optical axis and Z focusing of the objective are available as standard products.
- Linear Piezo Flexure StagesLinear Piezo Flexure StagesPI’s nanopositioning stages and scanners combine nanometer-precision resolution and guiding precision with minimum crosstalk. This makes them particularly suitable for reference applications in metrology, for microscopic processes, for interferometry or in inspection systems for semiconductor chip production.
- XY Piezo Flexure StagesXY Piezo Flexure StagesHigh-precision 2-axis nanopositioning systems integrate PICMA® piezo actuators for maximum reliability. Repeatable, drift-free positioning with optimal stability is possible by the use of high-quality nanometrology sensors.
- XYZ Piezo Flexure ScannersXYZ Piezo Flexure Scanners3-Axis Nanopositioning Scanners of Maximum Precision
- Piezo Flexure Tilting MirrorsPiezo Flexure Tilting MirrorsThe high stiffness of piezo flexure mirror platforms allows for high dynamics and excellent position stability. The compact devices are frequently used for beam deflection in laser processing and laser steering. Their parallel-kinematic design creates identical performance in tip and tilt axis, with a common fixed pivot point and no change of polarization direction.
- Multi-Axis Piezo Flexure Stages
- Miniature StagesMiniature StagesMiniaturized stages and manipulators are essential in mobile applications for measuring and medical devices, in industrial microassembly or use for research, e.g. in UHV and non-magnetic environments.
- Miniature Linear StagesMiniature Linear StagesMiniature stages are essential in positioning tasks where available space is limited. Piezomotor solutions like Q-motion, PIline® and PiezoWalk® allow for the most compact stages due to their direct drive principle.
- Miniature Rotation StagesMiniature Rotation StagesRotation stages with piezomotor make for particularly compact sizes. These compact rotation stages can be used in optics applications, where they position, for example, filters reliably and with excellent repeatability. Rotation stages can be mounted on linear stages without adapter and allow for flexible combinations of multi-axis positioning systems.
- Miniature HexapodsMiniature HexapodsThe smallest devices for 6 degrees of freedom are built from Q-motion piezomotor stages, but also palm-size BLDC motor versions are available. Best overall homogeneity of performance is achieved with the classic hexapod design. Low-profile design is preferred when relatively large tilting angles are required.
- Miniature Linear Stages
- Linear StagesLinear StagesPI offers a wide range of motorized linear stages to supply high-precision industrial markets like semiconductor and photonics, as well as high-end research. Vacuum versions are available for a large number of different models. Multi-axis compositions can be set up with adapter brackets or specialized vertical stages and compatible rotation stages.
- Stages with Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear MotorStages with Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear MotorStages with Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor. The friction-free magnetic direct drive principle allows for most dynamic stages. Compared with motor-spindle-based stages, they use fewer mechanical components which results in less friction and backlash and thus more precision.
- Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) MotorsStages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) MotorsIndustrial applications in the production process such as laser processing benefit from the precise positioning accuracy of motorized positioning stages. Their low profile makes the variable stage series suitable for universal use, ranging from testing systems to production lines in precision automation.
- Vertical Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) MotorsVertical Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) MotorsVertical stages can be mounted on linear stages without adapter and allow for flexible combinations of multi-axis positioning systems.
- Miniature Linear StagesMiniature Linear Stages
- Stages with Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor
- Linear ActuatorsLinear ActuatorsChoose from the widest range of technologies the optimum for your special demands: Set-and-forget applications benefit from the specific features of piezomotors that provide excellent long-term stability, also for vacuum or nonmagnetic environments. Stepper and DC motor solutions are well-established and reliable for both industrial and research use.
- PiezoMike for Long-Term StabilityPiezoMike for Long-Term StabilityThe PiezoMike linear actuators offer the high resolution of piezo direct drives, high forces and absolutely stable positioning. This makes them ideal for set-and-forget applications with high precision requirements like the positioning of optical elements in a laser application.
- Linear Actuators with Stepper & DC Servo MotorsLinear Actuators with Stepper & DC Servo MotorsMotorized linear actuators are indispensable in automation routines from industrial production to adjustment in research laboratories.
- PIMag® VC Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control OptionPIMag® VC Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control OptionVoice coil drives show very high velocities and allow for fast step-and-settle. Wear-free flexure guidings or mechanical guidings are available. The optional force control allows for stand-alone solutions in pressure-sensitive device testing.
- PiezoMove Lever ActuatorsPiezoMove Lever Actuators
- Nanopositioning Piezo ActuatorsNanopositioning Piezo ActuatorsPIezoMove actuators are flexure-guided and have strokes up to 1 mm. Being very compact, they can be easily integrated. Generating forces of up to 10000 N and strokes of up to 100 µm are the characteristics of nanopositioning piezo actuators based on PICMA® multilayer piezos.
- PiezoWalk® Actuators with High Force & StabilityPiezoWalk® Actuators with High Force & StabilityPiezoWalk® actuators are highly specialized piezobased drives intended for integration. Designed for use in the semiconductor industry, they boost on reliability, position resolution and long-term stability. Their special features include minimum size with high force generation. The drive itself is resistant to magnetic fields.
- PIRest Active Piezo ShimsPIRest Active Piezo Shims
- PiezoMike for Long-Term Stability
- Rotation StagesRotation StagesPI offers stages with all kinds of motorization and guiding options: air-bearing, torque motor driven, motorized worm-gear coupled, tiny piezomotor stages and specialized goniometer stages with orthogonal tip-tilt mounting option.
- XY StagesXY StagesStability, precision and dynamics are crucial in the application fields of PI’s XY stages. They are the basis of high throughput rates and reliable operation. PI makes use of own developments in the fields of PIMag® magnetic linear motors and PIglide air bearings. Industrial production and quality control benefit from PI’s high-load XY stages and planar scanners.
- HexapodsHexapodsHexapods provide six degrees of freedom in the most compact package. In combination with absolute measuring sensors, software and motion controllers that make the most complicated motion profiles easy to command, PI hexapods answer industrial requirements.
- Engineered Subsystems for AutomationEngineered Subsystems for AutomationPrecision components, stable control and a great deal of experience in engineering are essential for high-precision complex motion and positioning solutions. PI is a supplier of technologically sophisticated drive components and high-precision positioners and also offers all levels of integration for engineered subsystems.
- Fast Multi-Channel Photonics AlignmentFast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment SystemsPiezo scanners take care of fast, continuous scanning tasks, where durability, dynamics, and precision matter. The larger travel ranges are realized with XYZ combinations or 6-axis hexapods. Integrated routines make it possible to perform single-axis alignments up to complex, multi-axis fiber array positioning within the shortest possible time.
- Motion Control SoftwareMotion Control SoftwareAll digital controllers made by PI are accompanied by an extensive software package.
- ConceptsConceptsPI pursues a cross-platform and hardware-independent concept in the design of the motion control software.
- User Programs and Their FunctionsUser Programs and Their FunctionsEvery PI controller is delivered with an extensive software package that supports the user in setting up and parametrizing the overall system.
- Software Tools for HexapodsSoftware Tools for Hexapods
- ProgrammingProgrammingCustomers can program or adapt their own user programs so that every PI controller can be seamlessly integrated into their application.
- Third Party SupportThird Party Support
- Software Products for Special ApplicationsSoftware Products for Special ApplicationsControllers and drivers from PI are supplied with an extensive software package that provides convenient solutions and interfaces for ensuring full functionality.
- Controllers & DriversControllers & DriversThe decision for a motion controller depends on the specific application situation. Various criteria, such as limited installation space, the number of axes or the type of control, determine which controller is the right one. PI offers a broad spectrum of controls and regulation concepts.
- Nanopositioning Piezo ControllersNanopositioning Piezo ControllersPI offers the broadest range of digital and analog piezo control concepts that are adapted for optimal result in every application. Calibration of all piezo systems is done before delivery and all systems are delivered ready for operation.
- Piezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo ActuatorsPiezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo ActuatorsPI’s piezo drivers are available as benchtop or rackmount solutions, and as OEM modules also with separate power supply for minimized size. Piezo drivers integrate high-performance amplifiers specialized for different fields of applications.
- Motion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo MotorsMotion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo MotorsPI develops motion control solutions in-house to best adjust the features to the requirements of both drive and application. PI’s motion controllers are generally designed as single-channel devices and are available as benchtop, rackmount or OEM versions.
- Controllers & Drivers for PiezomotorsControllers & Drivers for Piezomotors
- Controller Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive TypesController Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive TypesModular motion controller systems provide best flexibility for increasing the number of axes in a system. They allow the use of different drive types with only one user interface. The number of available models is continuously extended. Contact PI now for your individual controller setup!
- Hexapod Motion ControllersHexapod Motion ControllersAs unique as the hexapod mechanics, the motion controller is designed to make parallel kinematics algorithms as easy and unnoticed by the user as possible: All target positions are commanded in Cartesian coordinates. For best integration in automation processes, the Hexapod motion controller is available with industrial EtherCAT interface.
- ACS Motion ControlACS Motion Control for Industrial AutomationWe recommend the controllers of our partner, ACS Motion Control especially for automation with industrial standards. Ask us about your integrated solution!
- Nanopositioning Piezo Controllers
- Piezoelectric Transducers & ActuatorsPiezoelectric Transducers & ActuatorsPiezoelectric ultrasonic transducers are available in a wide range of shapes like disks, plates or tubes, and different performance levels. They can be adapted to application requirements by using different piezoceramic materials, electrodes, and assembling technology.
- Discs, Rods and CylindersPiezoceramic Discs, Rods & Cylinders
- Plates and BlocksPiezoceramic Plates & Blocks
- RingsPiezoceramic Rings
- TubesPiezoceramic Tubes
- Spheres and HemispheresPiezoceramic Spheres & Hemispheres
- Bending ElementsPiezoceramic Bending Elements
- Tube ActuatorsPiezo Tube ActuatorsRadially and axially contracting piezo tubes are often used for creating dynamic scanning motions and as fiber stretchers.
- PICMA® Piezo Linear ActuatorsPICMA® Piezo Linear ActuatorsPICMA® multilayer actuators for an up to 10 times higher lifetime and operating time than conventional multilayer piezo actuators.
- PICMA® Piezo Bender ActuatorsPICMA® Piezo Bender ActuatorsMultilayer bending actuators: large displacement and high dynamics. Their bimorph structure ensures bidirectional displacement.
- PICA Piezoelectric Stack ActuatorsPICA Piezoelectric Stack ActuatorsStacked piezo linear actuators with operating voltages to 1000 V: High reliability, large specific displacement and high forces.
- PICA Shear ActuatorsPICA Shear ActuatorsMulti-axis and shear actuators in stacked design offer excellent dynamics combined with minimum electrical power requirements.
- DuraAct Patch TransducersDuraAct Patch TransducersDuraAct patch transducers convert electrical voltage into mechanical energy and vice versa; as actuator, sensor or as energy generator.
- Picoactuator® Piezoelectric CrystalPicoactuator® Piezoelectric CrystalThe motion of the Picoactuator® piezo crystals is highly linear and almost hysteresis-free and consequently suited for high-dynamics applications.
- Discs, Rods and Cylinders
- Air Bearings & StagesAir Bearings & StagesAir bearing stages are used where vibration-free motion is required, velocity needs to be highly constant, and optimum angular repeatability is requested.
- Sensors, Components & AccessoriesSensors, Components & Accessories
- VacuumProduct Series with Vacuum-Ready ItemsPI offers specific catalogue items for selected product series that are already suitable for high vacuum (HV) or ultra-high vacuum (UHV).
- New Products
- OEMOEMCustomer- and application-specific product developments form the basis for success at PI. To this purpose, requirements have to be understood and a technological solution has to be found.
- ApplicationsApplications & MarketsPI positioning systems are employed where technology is pushed forward in industry and research. This is done, for example, in semiconductor manufacturing, in medical engineering, in biotechnology, in plant engineering, in surface metrology, or in astronomy.
- Hexapods Support Industrial RobotsHexapods Support Industrial RobotsBecause the need for multi-axis and also precision robots in production and quality processes is on the increase, industry is looking out for new types of robotics. PI offers parallel-kinematic hexapods for these tasks.
- Scientific InstrumentationScientific InstrumentationThe term "scientific instrumentation" covers a variety of different applications, starting with microscopy via beamline processes through to the wide field of laboratory automation.
- Hexapod Systems for ALMAHexapod Systems for ALMAUnder the extreme conditions of the Atacama Desert, PI hexapods align the subreflectors to the large main reflectors of the ALMA radio telescopes.
- Double-Crystal MonochromatorDouble-Crystal Monochromator for an X-Ray SpectrometerThe PI Beamline Instrumentation division’s aim is to develop application oriented solutions, e.g., this monochromator for an X-ray spectrometer.
- Materials Research in High VacuumMaterials Research in High VacuumPI provides standard and custom high vacuum compatible positioning systems for materials research with high-energy X-rays.
- Active Vibration Isolation with Piezo ActuatorsActive Vibration Isolation with Piezo ActuatorsActive vibration isolation reduces settling times, increases precision in measurement and production sequences and achieves high throughput rates.
- Drive Technology for the ELTDrive Technology for the ELTThe European - Extremely Large Telescope, in short E-ELT, is the largest terrestrial telescope for scientific evaluation of electromagnetic radiation.
- Hexapod Systems for ALMA
- Semiconductor TechnologySemiconductor TechnologyLithographic processes are the reason why chips are getting smaller and smaller and why extremely fine structures can be realized on silicon wafers. Piezo drives have made these technical advances possible with their performance and reliability.
- MicroscopyMicroscopyImaging processes increase efficiency across a number of fields, ranging from medical engineering to pharmaceutical research and manufacturing of semiconductors.
- Confocal MicroscopyAdjustment of the Focal Planes in Confocal MicroscopyConfocal microscopy is used to detect the structure of the sample surface through the shifting of the focal plane, for example in dermatology.
- Positioning Solutions for Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM)Positioning Solutions for Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM)Linear stages adjust the laser beam in the TIRF microscope. Precision positioning of the sample is possible by combining two XY stages.
- High-Speed MicroscopyHigh-Speed Microscopy for Quality ControlSpecimen positioning on AFM scanners for atomic force microscopy is performed with piezo-based scanning stages which thus play a key role.
- Atomic Force MicroscopyAFM Scanner for Atomic Force MicroscopySpecimen positioning on AFM scanners for atomic force microscopy is performed with piezo-based scanning stages which thus play a key role.
- White Light Interferometry3-D Surface Inspection With Piezo-Based Positioning Systems from PIHigh-resolution camera systems are combined with white light interferometry for 3-D surface inspection with picometer resolution.
- Flamingo Lightsheet Fluorescence MicroscopyFlamingo Lightsheet Fluorescence MicroscopyLight Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy (LSFM), also called Single Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM ) is a very powerful microscopy technology for gentle in vivo imaging offering low phototoxicity and fast image acquisition.
- IsoView Light Sheet MicroscopeIsoView Light Sheet MicroscopeLight Sheet Microscopy is a fascinating technology with a huge application potential in life sciences and biotechnology. IsoView is a brilliant interpretation of this technology, especially intended for imaging fast cellular dynamics across large specimens over several hours. Specimen positioning and objective translation plays a major role in the design of IsoView.
- Confocal Microscopy
- Silicon PhotonicsSilicon PhotonicsSilicon photonics allows data rates into the Tbit/s range and is therefore suitable for computer-aided services that require the highest possible transmission speeds.
- Photonics PackagingAutomated Photonics PackagingAn automated assembly and alignment system can reduce the manufacturing process for silicon photonics to only a few minutes. However, handling the delicate waveguides is indeed a major challenge as the integration of the light sources at a wafer level and connection of the optical inputs and outputs are difficult to perform.
- Optical Fiber AlignmentSimultaneous Testing of Optical Components in Silicon PhotonicsSilicon photonics presents new challenges for the production of components as well as testing and slicing the wafers.
- Photonics Packaging
- Medical TechnologyMedical TechnologyProgress in pharmaceutical research, diagnostics, and therapy requires high-performance and precise position systems. In addition to high positioning precision, requirements for the drives often include compact dimensions, low energy consumption, speed, and high reliability.
- EndoscopyVariable Focusing and Sharp Focus for Endoscopic ApplicationsTiniest piezomotors, magnetic miniature drives and miniaturized piezo tubes are used in various are used in various endoscopy procedures to generate high-resolution image information in the smallest possible installation space.
- Surgical Robots for OphthalmologySurgical Robots for OphthalmologyThe control and focusing of laser beams in ophthalmic surgery requires accurate positioning systems, such as piezo-driven tip/tilt mirror systems.
- Magnetic Resonance ImagingNonsensitive Drives for Magnetic Resonance TomographyPiezo drives are well suited for magnetic resonance therapy, because they are not influenced by strong magnetic fields.
- Optical Coherence TomographyPiezo Technology and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)Piezo actuators and drives, e.g., PILine® OEM motors, ensure the high precision and position stability required for optical coherence tomography (OCT).
- PipettingPiezomotors for Pipetting and NanodispensingPiezomotors are suited for pipetting with small devices and sample separations and are able to move the pipettes in the vertical direction.
- Precision DosingDynamic Drives for Precision Dosing with NanodispensersPiezo actuators are ideal for precision dosing with nanodispensers: They can switch valves directly, and can also work against a closing spring.
- MicropumpsPiezoelectric Micropumps – Compact Design and High PerformancePiezoelectric micro-diaphragm pumps offer high performance on small space – the drives allow a continuous flow and a variable flow rate.
- Image StabilizationImage Stabilization and Microscanning with Piezo ScannersFast, piezo-based scanners operate with the necessary velocities in the video frequency range for image stabilization and microscanning.
- Adaptive Diaphragm PositioningAdaptive Diaphragm PositioningIn radiation therapy, the individual leaves are adjusted so that the healthy tissue offers the optimum protection from the radiation.
- Positioning Solutions for Whole Genome SequencingPositioning Solutions for Whole Genome SequencingSpeed and precision have leaped since the beginnings of genome analysis – while, at the same time, costs have continuously decreased. „Sequencing-by-synthesis“, the currently leading method, is based on signal detection by fluorescence microscopes. Positioning solutions for microscope objectives and sample stages play a decisive role in it.
- Materials ResearchMaterials ResearchEfficiency has become an important buzzword these days. Materials research has paid a major contribution as the results have, for example, optimized processing methods. Methods such as X-rays and lasers or white light interferometry demand precise positioning of the specimens to be examined and of optics or beam control.
- Parallel Kinematics for Materials ResearchHigh-Load Parallel Kinematics for Materials ResearchThe high-energy X-rays at beamlines provide numerous possibilities for materials research, such as checking welding seams of workpieces.
- Laser Beam ControlPiezo Drives for Laser Beam ControlLasers are tools that can be used in many areas of application. At the same time, the laser beam control requires precision, dynamics, and reliability.
- Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research
- Mechanical EngineeringMechanical EngineeringMechanical engineering and manufacturing technology require fast, reliable and energy-saving drive components. The spectrum ranges from piezo actuators to six-axis parallel kinematics which can communicate directly with CNC controls.
- Electrical Discharge MachiningPiezo Actuators Accelerate Electrical Discharge MachiningPrecision components are manufactured using electrical discharge machining, often in large numbers. Vibrating piezo actuators make a crucial contribution here.
- Hexapods in Mechanical EngineeringHexapods in Mechanical EngineeringPI hexapod 6-axis positioning systems can handle loads from 2 kg to several tons. Ideal for precision mechanical engineering applications.
- Electrical Discharge Machining
- AutomationAutomationPiezo drives, magnetic direct drives, and hexapods are part and parcel of automation today. They operate precisely and reliably and have proven themselves under rugged conditions.
- Smarter Motion PositioningSmarter Motion PositioningPositioning and motion tasks in industrial automation such as those in assembly, semiconductor manufacturing, mechanical engineering, laser material processing, inspection systems or in additive manufacturing demand solutions that need to be robust and reliable.
- Hexapods in MicroproductionHexapods in MicroproductionWhat do optical components and glass fibers in photonics, mobile devices, and high-quality wristwatches all have in common?
- Hexapods for Quality AssuranceHexapods for Quality AssuranceMicroproduction technology makes high-precision positioning systems absolutely necessary for both assembly and quality assurance.
- Magnetic Direct DrivesMagnetic Direct DrivesMagnetic direct drives, which include voice-coil actuators and linear drives, are often predestined here as the best solutions for many reasons.
- Motion Simulation with HexapodsMotion Simulation with HexapodsMotion simulation with hexapods with CIPA certificate from PI (Physik Instrumente) – vibrating tables are used for testing resistance to vibration.
- Flexibility in Dimensional MeasuringHexapod Systems in AutomationHexapods allow for an outstanding flexibility for a variety of samples of in-line automation systems by minimizing the space for motion robotics.
- Motion Compensation with HexapodsMotion Compensation with HexapodsDynamic hexapods with piezo drives: Best conditions for motion compensation.
- Fast Piezo Ultrasonic Drives Advance TechnologyFast Piezo Ultrasonic Drives Advance TechnologyWhen increased demands are placed on an application, ultrasonic piezo motors can prove to be a good alternative, as they can be used in many ways.
- Laser Material ProcessingLaser Material ProcessingPI offers automation platforms for high-precision and high-throughput laser material processing, such as laser marking, laser cutting and micromachining.
- Hexapods for Optical MetrologyHexapods Support Precise Measurement of AspheresTesting aspherical shape accuracy requires the measurement of the smallest deviations in the nanometer range and short measuring and set-up times. The solution is a new interferometer from metrology company Mahr. As part of the overall system, the hexapod positions lenses and the calibration sphere.
- Smarter Motion Positioning
- Beamline InstrumentationBeamline InstrumentationScientific experiments pose their own challenges, and beamline X-ray experiments are even more special in themselves. However, the need for precision equipment is universal.
- Tomography EquipmentTomography Equipment
- Synchrotron Spectroscopy in VacuumSynchrotron Spectroscopy in Vacuum
- Beam PreparationBeam Preparation
- Sample Positioning for TomographySample Positioning for Tomography
- Accelerator TechnologyAccelerator TechnologyDynamic compensation of Lorentz forces at the XFEL accelerator structures: The particle accelerator XFEL at the DESY (German Electron Synchrotron) uses acceleration technology based on super-conducting acceleration structures, so-called resonators or cavities.
- Tomography Equipment
- Additive ManufacturingAdditive ManufacturingDue to their high dynamics and pushing forces piezo actuators are highly suitable for the use in machines for additive manufacturing.
- Active AlignmentActive AlignmentThe assembly of complex optical systems like objective lenses for smartphone cameras or laser cavities requires more and more accuracy. Active alignment addresses the resulting needs and helps to reduce cycle times by two orders of magnitude and more.
- TechnologyKnow-How & TechnologyPI combines its long-term experience in micro and nanopositioning technology with in-depth knowledge in the fields of mechanics, electronics, sensor engineering, and software. Thus, PI is able to offer its customers the most advanced drive technologies and system solutions.
- Piezo TechnologyPiezo TechnologyPI Ceramic offers a wealth of experience in the manufacturing of piezoceramic materials, components, and actuators. The piezoceramic materials can be adapted individually to perfectly fit the later use of the piezo components.
- Fundamentals of Piezo TechnologyFundamentals of Piezo TechnologyPhysical basics and explanations of piezo electricity and electromechanics.
- Properties of Piezo ActuatorsProperties of Piezo ActuatorsCharacteristics of piezoceramic actuators: Displacement modes, forces and stiffnesses, dynamics. Ambient conditions.
- Piezoceramic MaterialsPiezoceramic MaterialsPI Ceramic offers a variety of different piezoelectric materials including lead-free materials.
- Manufacturing TechnologyManufacturing TechnologyPI Ceramic offers a wide range of manufacturing technologies: Pressing or tape technology, assembling technology and testing procedures.
- PICMA® TechnologyPICMA® TechnologyHighly reliable and extended lifetime through the patented manufacturing process for multilayer actuators.
- Integrated Piezo ActuatorsIntegrated Piezo ActuatorsTo avoid pull forces, these piezo elements are provided with a mechanical preload in mechanical cases or by means of flexure joints.
- DuraAct Patch Transducer TechnologyDuraAct Patch Transducer TechnologyManufacture, functional principle and typical working parameters of DuraAct patch transducers explain the possible force generation and deflection.
- PIRest ActuatorsPIRest ActuatorsActive shims with long-term stability and nanometer resolution.
- Fundamentals of Piezo Technology
- Piezoelectric DrivesPiezoelectric DrivesDepending on the configuration and control, piezoceramic actuators can be used to create translational motions or as motors with a virtually unlimited travel range. The choice of drive depends on the requirements of the application.
- Piezo ActuatorsPiezo Actuators with and without GuidingPiezoelectric actuators offer subnanometer resolution and very short response times, making them ideally suitable for nanometer-precision positioning at high dynamics.
- PiezoWalk® Walking DrivesPiezoWalk® Walking DrivesPiezoWalk® drives were developed more than 10 years ago for the semiconductor industry, a demanding industry when it comes to reliability, position resolution and long-term stability.
- PILine® Ultrasonic PiezomotorsPILine® Ultrasonic PiezomotorsUltrasonic piezomotors dispense with the mechanical complexity of classical rotary motor/gear/leadscrew combinations in favor of costs and reliability.
- Piezo Inertia DrivesPiezo Inertia DrivesInertia Drives are space-saving and low-cost piezo-based drives with relatively high holding forces and a travel range that is only limited by the length of the runner.
- PiezoMike Linear ActuatorsPiezoMike Linear ActuatorsCompact, low-cost inertia drive principle (stick-slip). When at rest, the drive is self-locking, requires no current and generates no heat. It holds the position with maximum force.
- Comparison: Piezo Motors & Drive TechnologiesComparison: Piezo Motors & Drive TechnologiesPIs drive technologies in comparison: Piezo motors, stepping drives, ultrasonic drives, and piezo inertia drives.
- Piezo Actuators
- Electromagnetic DrivesElectromagnetic DrivesRotating electric motors such as DC or stepper motors are used in connection with screw or worm drives. Stepper motor systems with high-resolution encoders can perform minimum incremental motions of 10 nm with high reliability and repeatability.
- Rotating Electric MotorsRotating Electric Motors from PIRotating electric motors such as DC or stepper motors are used in connection with screw or worm drives.
- Magnetic Direct DrivesMagnetic Direct DrivesIn particular in terms of wear and dynamics, magnetic direct drives offer advantages compared to common spindle-based technologies.
- PIMag® 6-D Magnetic LevitationPIMag® 6-D Magnetic Levitation at Six Levels of FreedomPIMag® 6-D is an electromagnetic positioning system in which the passive platform levitates on a magnetic field and is actively guided by it.
- Hybrid ConceptPiezo & Motor Hybrid ConceptIn the hybrid concept, the DC servo motor (large travel ranges) and the piezo drive (nanometer accuracy) are combined with one another.
- Rotating Electric Motors
- Parallel KinematicsParallel KinematicsIn a parallel-kinematic, multi-axis system, all actuators act directly on a single moving platform. This means that all axes can be designed with identical dynamic properties, thus reducing the moved mass considerably. Hexapods are used for moving and precision positioning, aligning and displacing loads in all six degrees of freedom, i.e., three linear and three rotational axes.
- Parallel KinematicsPiezo Positioning Systems with Parallel KinematicsIn a parallel-kinematic, multi-axis system, all actuators act directly on a single moving platform.
- Multi-Axis PositionersMulti-Axis Positioners and Stewart PlatformsHexapod platforms are used for precision positioning and alignment of loads in all six degrees of freedom, three linear axes, and three rotational axes.
- Hexapod as Motion SimulatorHexapod as Motion SimulatorMotion simulators have higher motion dynamics requirements (shakers).
- Parallel Kinematics
- Sensor TechnologiesSensor TechnologiesThe linearity and repeatability achieved are not possible without highest-resolution measuring devices. Accuracies in the range of a few nanometers and below require a position measurement method that can also detect motion in this range.
- Capacitive SensorsCapacitance NanosensorsCapacitive sensors are the metrology system of choice for the most demanding nanopositioning applications.
- Incremental SensorsLinear Scale Encoders for Nanometrology & NanopositioningPI uses incremental measurement systems for longer travel ranges, starting from approximately one millimeter. These sensors, which in most cases are optical sensors, achieve position resolution down to the picometer range.
- PIOne Optical Nanometrology EncoderPIOne Optical Nanometrology EncoderThe PIOne high-resolution linear sensor developed by PI ensures a position resolution of far less than one nanometer with adequate measurement analysis.
- Comparison: Position Sensor TechnologiesComparison: Nanopositioning Sensor TechnologiesPositioning systems that need to provide accuracies in the range of a few nanometers and below require a position measurement technique that can also detect motion in this range.
- Capacitive Sensors
- Controllers & SoftwareControllers & SoftwareFast settling or extremely smooth low speed motion, high positional stability, high resolution and high dynamics – the requirements placed on piezo systems vary greatly and need drivers and controllers with a high degree of flexibility.
- Digital & Analog InterfacesDigital & Analog InterfacesFast USB or TCP/IP interfaces as well as RS-232 are the standard interfaces supported by modern digital controllers from PI. Furthermore, PI also provides digital or analog real-time capable interfaces.
- EtherCAT Connectivity of PI ProductsEtherCAT Connectivity of PI ProductsPI offers high-precision drives for use as EtherCAT slave, or integrates with ACS Motion Controllers as Master, or 2nd Master in an existing architecture.
- Control of Piezo ActuatorsPiezo Controllers & Drivers for Nanopositioning SystemsCharacteristic properties of piezo actuators include high feed forces and fast response. Since piezoelectric actuators react to even the smallest change in voltage with a motion, noise or drift in the control must be avoided.
- Digital Motion ControllersDigital Motion ControllersDigital technology opens up possibilities for improving performance in control engineering which do not exist with conventional analog technology.
- SoftwareMotion Control Software from PIAll positioning systems from Physik Instrumente (PI) and piezo and motion controllers and drivers are supported by a solid software package.
- Active AlignmentActive AlignmentThe need to align devices down to nanoscale accuracy is arising in many fields. Optical components such as the lenses or lens assemblies in small cameras, or even the CCD chip itself, need to be positioned with ever more precision.
- Digital & Analog Interfaces
- Guiding Systems & Force TransmissionGuiding Systems & Force TransmissionFlexure joints, mechanical guide components or magnetic bearings? Which kind of guiding system PI uses in its products depends on parameters such as travel range, required precision, load, lifetime, and ambient conditions.
- Classical Guiding SystemsComparison: Classical Guiding Systems and Force TransmissionPositioners with travel ranges from several millimeters to one meter usually utilize traditional mechanical guide components such as ball bearings.
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PI Ceramic offers various types of piezo actuators with different layer thicknesses. This results in nominal operating voltages of 60 V for PICMA® bender actuators and up to 1000 V for PICA actuators.
At operating frequencies well below the resonant frequency, a piezo actuator behaves like a capacitor. The actuator displacement is proportional to the stored electrical charge, as a first order estimate. The capacitance of the actuator depends on the area and thickness of the ceramic as well as the material properties. In the case of actuators that are constructed of several ceramic layers electrically connected in parallel, the capacitance also depends on the number of layers. In the actuators there are leakage current losses in the μA range or below due to the high internal resistance.
Accordingly, a PICMA® stack actuator with a layer thickness of 60 µm has an approx. 70 times higher capacitance than a PICA stack actuator of the same volume and a layer thickness of 500 µm. The electric power consumption P of both types is roughly the same due to the relationship P ~ C V2 since the operating voltage changes proportionally to the layer thickness.
When electrically charged, the amount of energy stored in a piezo actuator is approximately E = 0.5 CV2 . Every change in the charge (and therefore in displacement) is connected with a charge transport that requires the following current I:
Slow position changes only require a low current. To hold the position, it is only necessary to compensate for the very low leakage currents, even in the case of very high loads. The power consumption is correspondingly low. Even when suddenly disconnected from the electrical source, the charged actuator will not make a sudden move. The discharge and thus the return to zero position will happen continuously and very slowly.
Operation with Position Control
In closed-loop operation, the maximum safe operating frequency is also limited by the phase and amplitude response of the system. Rule of thumb: The higher the resonant frequency of the mechanical system, the higher the control bandwidth can be set. The sensor bandwidth and performance of the controller (digital or analog, filter and controller type, bandwidth) also limit the operating bandwidth of the positioning system.
Heat Generation in a Piezo Element in Dynamic Operation
Since piezo actuators behave like capacitive loads, their charge and discharge currents increase with the operating frequency. The thermal active power P generated in the actuator can be estimated as follows:
For actuator piezo ceramics under small-signal conditions, the loss factor is on the order of 0.01 to 0.02. This means that up to 2 % of the electrical power flowing through the actuator is converted into heat. In the case of large-signal conditions, this can increase to considerably higher values (fig. 3). Therefore, the maximum operating frequency also depends on the permissible operating temperature. At high frequencies and voltage amplitudes, cooling measures may be necessary. For these applications, PI Ceramic also offers piezo actuators with integrated temperature sensors to monitor the ceramic temperature.
P Power converted into heat [W] tan δ Dielectric loss factor (ratio of effective to reactive power) f Operating frequency [Hz] C Actuator capacitance [F] Vpp Piezo voltage (peak-to-peak) [V] Epp Electric field strength (peak-to-peak) [kV/mm]
Dielectric Loss Factors
Fig. 3 shows the dielectric loss factors tan δ for different materials and control modes at room temperature and with quasistatic control. The conversion between voltage and field strength for specific actuators is done with the layer thicknesses. The actual loss factor in the component depends on further factors such as the mechanical preload, the temperature, the control frequency, and the amount of passive material.
Continuous Dynamic Operation
To be able to operate a piezo actuator at the desired dynamics, the piezo amplifier must meet certain minimal requirements. To asses these requirements, the relationship between amplifier output current, operating voltage of the piezo actuator, and operating frequency has to be considered.
Both the average current and the peak current of the amplifier are relevant for driving a piezo actuator with a symmetrical triangular waveform. The maximum operating frequency of an amplifier can be estimated as follows:
A secondary constraint that applies here is that the amplifier must be capable of delivering at least Imax = 2 Ia for the charging time, i.e. for half the period. If this is not feasible, an appropriately lower maximum operating frequency should be selected. For amplifiers which cannot deliver a higher peak current or not for a sufficient period of time, the following equation should be used for calculation instead:
The effective or average current Ia of the amplifier specified in the data sheets is the crucial parameter for continuous operation with a sine wave. Under the defined ambient conditions, the average current values are guaranteed without a time limit.
For sinusoidal single pulses that are delivered for a short time only, the following equation can be used:
The above equation calculates the required peak current for a half-wave. The amplifier must be capable of delivering this peak current for at least half a period. For repeated single pulses, the time average of the peak currents must not exceed the permitted average current.
Signal Shape and Bandwidth
In addition to estimating the power of the piezo amplifier, assessing the small-signal bandwidth is important with all signal shapes that deviate from the sinusoidal shape.
The less the harmonics of the control signal are transferred, the more the resulting shape returns to the shape of the dominant wave, i.e. the sinusoidal shape. The bandwidth should therefore be at least ten-fold higher than the basic frequency in order to prevent signal bias resulting from the nontransferred harmonics.
In practice, the limit of usable frequency portions to which the mechanical piezo system can respond is the mechanical resonant frequency. For this reason, the electrical control signal does not need to include clearly higher frequency portions.
The fastest displacement of a piezo actuator can occur in 1/3 of the period of its resonant frequency. Response times in the microsecond range and accelerations of more than 10,000 g are feasible, but require particularly high peak currents from the piezo amplifier. This makes fast switching applications such as injection valves, hydraulic valves, switching relays, optical switches, and adaptive optics possible.
For charging processes with constant current, the minimal rise time in pulse-mode operation can be determined using the following equation:
As before, the small-signal bandwidth of the amplifier is crucial. The rise time of the amplifier must be clearly shorter than the piezo response time in order not to have the amplifier limit the displacement. In practice, as a rule-of-thumb, the bandwidth of the amplifier should be two- to three-fold larger than the resonance frequency.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Position Control in Switching Applications
A closed-loop controller always operates in the linear control range of voltages and currents. Since the peak current is limited in time and is therefore nonlinear, it cannot be used for a stable selection of control parameters. As a result, position control limits the bandwidth and does not allow for pulse-mode operation as described.
In switching applications, it may not be possible to attain the necessary positional stability and linearity with position control. Linearization can be attained, e.g., by means of charge-controlled amplifiers or by numerical correction methods.