Vacuum & Non-Magnetic Drive Technologies
For Precision Positioning Applications

PI has extensive experience in designing vacuum compatible and non-magnetic precision motion control systems. Positioning systems based on piezoelectric actuators are desirable in these applications due to the ceramic and non-magnetic nature of their drives. With a large number of piezo drive technologies at their disposal, PI can provide solutions with extremely accurate motion, high velocity and / or large forces over long travel ranges if required, in 1 to 6 axes.

In addition, PI also offers vacuum compatible positioning systems based on classical stepper and servo motor technology.

Brochure: Vacuum-Compatible and Non-Magnetic Drive Technologies

New from PI miCos: Ultra-High Vacuum Positioning Systems




PICMA® Piezoceramic Multilayer Actuators
Higher Reliability and Performance
  • Extreme Reliability. See "Lifetime Test Data"
  • Large Variety of Standard & Custom Geometries
  • Resolution below one nanometer
  • Response time microseconds to milliseconds
  • Non-magnetic and UHV-compatible
PI nanopositioning systems are equipped with the patented PICMA® piezoceramic actuators developed and produced by PI’s piezoceramic division – PI Ceramic. The fully ceramic encapsulated PICMA® actuators are available in many standard and custom geometries and prove service life typically 10 times higher than conventional piezoelectric actuators.

Piezoceramic material is intrinsically vacuum-compatible and non-magnetic. The displacement of the piezo actuator is based on a solid-state effect, electrical energy is directly converted into linear motion. Piezo ceramic drives do not require lubricants and are maintenance-free. High- or ultra-high-vacuum drives are required for high-resolution microscopy, nano-manufacturing, nano-lithography as well as in aeronautics and basic research.

Piezoceramic material is intrinsically vacuum-compatible and non-magnetic. PICMA® Actuators shown in lower left corner.



PiezoWalk® Linear Drive
High Resolution over Long Travel
  • NEXLINE®: Up to 600 N drive force
  • NEXACT®: 10 N force and 10 mm/s speed
  • Open-loop and closed-Loop operation
  • Patented, Self-locking design
  • Travel ranges to 125 mm, basically unlimited
PiezoWalk® drives combine the motion of several piezo actuators providing long travel ranges, very high dynamics and resolution down to the picometer range. The internally preloaded actuators automatically clamp the output shaft when powered down maintaining a stable position to within nanometers without any heat dissipation.




Nanopositioning Systems with Piezo Flexure Mechanics
Precision and speed in up to six degrees of freedom
  • From compact linear actuators to complex 6-axis systems
  • Parallelkinematics for high precision and dynamics
  • Closed-loop control with capacitive direct position measurement
  • Travel ranges between 1 and 1800 µm
  • Large variety of loads,travel ranges and precision classes
  • Non-magnetic and UHV-compatible
Introduction to Flexure Nanopositioning Systems




Long Travel Ranges With NEXACT® Stepping Drives
  • Travel ranges up to 30mm
  • Resolution <1nm
  • Open and Closed-Loop operation
  • 10 N drive force
  • 10 mm/s speed
  • Highly dynamic operation: >100Hz over 5 µm
  • Non-magnetic and UHV-compatible
Introduction to PiezoWalk® drives

Selection Guide Standard PiezoWalk® Systems





High Load Nanopositioning Systems With NEXLINE® Stepping Drives

  • For high loads and nanometer precision
  • Linear encoders with up to 5nm resolution
  • Parallel kinematics for up to 6 axes
  • For chip manufacturing and inspection systems
  • Non-magnetic and UHV-compatible
PiezoWalk® Hexapod

Selection Guide Standard PiezoWalk® Systems

Introduction to PiezoWalk® drives




Integrated Direct Metrology
Measure the Position Where it Counts
  • Capacitive sensors:Sub-nanometer resolution
  • Incremental sensors: Nanometer resolution, wide measurement ranges
  • No position errors caused by indirect measurement in the drive train
  • No position errors caused by hysteresis and play
  • Non-magnetic and UHV-compatible
Selection Guide Capacitive Sensors





Micropositioning Stages / Actuators with Ultrasonic Piezo Motors and Classical Stepper & DC Servo Drives
  • Linear Positioners and Actuators
  • High-Vacuum Solutions for All Fields of Application
  • Travel ranges between 5 and 300 mm
  • From compact stages to high-load positioners
  • Velocity up to 150 mm/s
  • Optinal incremental encoders for direct position measurement
  • Versions for high vacuum
Micropositioning systems provide positioning resolution and accuracy in the range between a few tens of micrometers and 0.1 µm. Ultrasonic piezo linear motors as well as conventional DC and stepper motors are available as drives. All units are specially prepared, assembled from vacuum compatible components and materials.




Compact Linear Positioners with High-Speed PILine® Ultrasonic Piezo Motors
  • Velocity up to 400 mm/s
  • Direct position measurement with linear encoder
  • Dimensions from 35 x 35 x 15 mm
  • Self-locking at rest
  • High-vacuum and non-magnetic versions
Ultrasonic ceramic motors are intrinsically non-magnetic and vacuum-compatible. They do not require lubricants and are significantly smaller than classical motor / leadscrew drives. Ultrasonic motors also achieve much higher velocities and faster response than classical mechanical drives and their self-locking principle provides exceptional position stability, even when powered off.

Introduction to PILine® ultrasonic piezo motor drives

Selection Guide Standard PILine® ultrasonic piezo motor drives





Hexapods, Tripods–Parallel Kinematics
Efficient Implementation of Multi-Axis Motion

Non-Magnetic and Vacuum-Compatible Hexapods
  • Linear travel ranges up to 100 mm
  • Rotation ranges up to 60°
  • Actuator resolution up to 5 nm
  • Load capacity to 2000 N
  • DC motors,stepper motors or piezo linear motors
PI is the leader in parallel-kinematic precision positioning systems. These advanced multi-axis systems provide many advantages over serial (stacked) positioners such as higher dynamics, stiffness and precision; and lower inertia. In a parallel-kinematics, multi-axis system, all drives act directly on the same moving platform allowing for a much more compact design, avoiding the drawbacks of accumulative runout and position errors of the individual axis. Another advantage is the lack of dragged cables completely eliminating the need for complex cable management systems.

More on Hexapods

Hexapod Selection Guide





Non-Magnetic Stages

Unlike conventional stepper and servo motors, all piezo ceramic drives are intrinsically nonmagnetic and they are not impaired by strong magnetic fields. PI has experience in designing non-magnetic positioning systems from simple motors and single axis micropositioning stages to complex flexure nanopositioning scanners and 6-axis hexapod systems.

>>Ultra-High Vacuum Positioners Brochure from PI miCos

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