Physik Instrumente has introduced the N-310 Nexact miniature ceramic linear motor actuator, which bridges the gap between micro- and nano-positioning devices. The actuator is compact, with dimensions of 25 x 25x 12mm, and can achieve forces of 10N, with 20mm of travel at 10mm/s. It has picometer resolution with a millisecond response time.
During operation, piezoceramic bending elements act on the ceramic runner, connected to the moving part of the application. The length of the runner, force capacity and resolution can be chosen as required. The velocity and the piezo geometry and are also scalable.
To move the runner over longer distances the stepping mode is used, whereas for distances smaller than 7µm, the linear (sweep) mode enables high-dynamics positioning with resolutions far below one nanometer. The special drive design reduces the operating voltage to less than 40V.
In contrast to servo or stepper motor actuators, the piezo stepping elements cause linear motion directly, without the need to transform rotation with gears and leadscrews. Backlash and wear are eliminated and the drive is maintenance-free.