Physik Instrumente (PI) has released N-603 linear positioning stages. These replace a conventional piezo actuator with a high-resolution piezo stepping drive of the Nexact series, which has a theoretical unlimited travel range, according to the company.
Frictionless flexure joints made of titanium guide the motion of the drive with a crosstalk of a few micrometres. Strain gauge sensors with approximately 0.25 per cent linearity are used as position sensors; this guarantees a positioning accuracy of approximately 5µm on the entire travel range. The position-controlled linear actuator measures 7.4mm in height and has a travel range of 2mm.
Due to its guiding and sensor technology, the linear actuator can be used in strong magnetic fields or in vacuum. Its fields of use include, for example, sample manipulation in electron microscopy, adjustment of imaging elements, or magnetic resonance tomography.
For the simple and precise operation of N-603, PI has developed a compact controller that controls the motion of the piezo stepping drives and the integrated strain gauge sensors.
PI uses Nexact stepping drives based on a minimum four piezoceramic benders preloaded against a guided runner. In a position-controlled system with Nexact drive, the motion is executed in nanostepping mode along a predefined motion profile to the target position.