Tiny Ceramic Linear Motor Moves Fast with Nanometer Precision


PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P. — a leading manufacturer of nanopositioning and piezo-based precision motion-control equipment for semiconductor, bio-nanotechnology and photonics applications — introduces the N-310 NEXACT® miniature ceramic linear motor actuator.

Features & Advantages:

  • Very Compact (25x25x12 mm) and Cost-Effective
  • Non-Magnetic and Vacuum-Compatible Design, Self-Locking
  • 10 N Push/Pull, 20 mm Travel, 10 mm/sec Speed
  • Picometer Resolution
  • Very Stiff Design, Millisecond Response & High Bandwidth

Typical Applications: Laser Tuning, Nanotechnology, Nano-Imprint, Semiconductor & Data-Storage Test & Production Equipment, Nanomanipulation, Bio-Technology.

New Design Bridges the Micro / Nanopositioning Gap, < 1/2 Cubic Inch
NEXACT® is a patented, high-precision linear motor actuator developed to bridge the gap between micro- and nanopositioning devices. At ½ cubic inch and 50 g (1.7 oz), the new NEXACT® actuator is significantly smaller and more cost effective than its big “brother”. This high-force ceramic motor, dubbed NEXLINE® has already won a technology award from the semiconductor community.

Working Principle: Piezo Bending Elements Drive a Ceramic Runner
NEXACT® actuators provide piezo-class resolution (far below one nanometer) and millisecond responsiveness. The new technology combines virtually unlimited travel ranges with high stiffness in a very small package. In operation, piezoceramic bending elements act on the ceramic runner, connected to the moving part of the application. The length of the runner can be chosen as required, force capacity, resolution and velocity depend on 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 40 V and below.

Self-Locking, No Wear, Maintenance-Free
In contrast to servo or stepper motor actuators, the piezo stepping elements effect linear motion directly, without the need to transform rotation with gears and leadscrews. Backlash and wear are eliminated and the drive is maintenance-free. NEXACT® actuators exhibit high stiffness and are self-locking when powered down with nanometer position stability, and zero dissipation or servo-dither at rest.


• Travel range - 20 mm • Step size (in step mode) - 5 nm to 5 µm • Travel range in analog operation - 7 µm • Open-loop resolution - 0.03 nm** • Step frequency - 1.5 kHz* • Max. speed - 10 mm/s* • Push/Pull force (active) - 10 N • Drive type - NEXACT® linear drive • Operating voltage - -10 V to +45 V • Operating temperature range - 0 to 50 °C • Body material - Stainless steel, non-magnetic • Mass - 50 g • Cable length - 1.5 m • Connector - HD Sub-D connector 15 pin, single channel • Recommended controller/driver - E-860-series (see link)
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