Fast steps with nanometer precision

Something new in microscopy: 1mm objective stage with piezo stepping drives

Karlsruhe, (PresseBox) - Piezo stepping drives from Physik Instrumente (PI) can be combined with a highresolution linear encoder for nanometer accuracy over the complete scanning range - and are now also available for PIFOC focusing systems for microscope objectives.

The new N-725 PIFOC scanner for microscope objectives with NEXACT piezo stepping drives provides travel ranges of up to one millimeter along the optical axis. At the same time the technology allows rapid positioning: The N-725 focusing system achieves transient times of around 20 milliseconds for steps of 200 nanometers. It has an extremely compact design and is no larger than conventional, piezobased PIFOC objective stages.

The focal plane can easily be changed with a single mechanism thanks to the combination of high resolution and long travel ranges. There is therefore often no need for a combined Zpositioning of the objective, e.g. with stepper motor and additional piezo stages.

Piezo stepping drive - the multitalented linear piezomotor

The NEXACT® piezo stepping drive advantageously combines the best characteristics of piezomotor principles in a compact unit: High resolution, high force and high speed. The feed motion is achieved solely via the nanometeraccurate motion of clamped piezo actuators - nonwearing, high resolution and with controllable speed.

In stepping mode, high positional resolution can be achieved over the complete travel range at high drive forces. Moreover, the high stiffness also allows a rapid oscillatory motion with an amplitude of 7 micrometers and resolutions of up to 30 pm (analog operation, openloop).

In addition, the drive is selflocking when it has reached its target and no longer needs to be powered, which is why it does not heat up. The position is stable in the nanometer range so there is no jitter about the target position, as is the case with servo motors and stepper motors.

Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co. KG

Over the last four decades, the Karlsruhebased company has become the leading manufacturer of nanopositioning technology. PI is a private company with healthy growth, more than 500 employees worldwide and a flexible, vertically integrated organization which enables PI to fulfill almost any request in the field of innovative precision positioning technology. All key technologies are developed inhouse. This means that every phase from the design right down to the shipment can be controlled: The precision mechanics and the electronics as well as the position sensors and the piezo ceramics or actuators. The latter are produced by the subsidiary company PI Ceramic. PI has its own sales and service offices in all important markets. Moreover, the company maintains testing devices for nanometrology on three continents. PI Shanghai and USA have additional development and manufacturing resources which allow rapid local reaction to customengineered specifications.

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