- Products ProductsPI is a worldwide leading supplier of solutions in the fields of motion and positioning. PI does not only develop and produce a broad range of positioning stages and actuators for linear, rotary and vertical motion or combinations of different axes. PI also adapts those solutions to customer-specific applications or supplies finished subsystems for motion and positioning.
- New Products New Products
- Product Finder Product FinderSelect the product type specified by the axes of motion required. Selection of more criteria expands or shortens the list of results. Select more than one filter at a time, for example, to find positioning stages designed for higher load capacity, too.
- Customized Products Customized ProductsPI is fully at home where unconventional solutions are in demand. This is no longer limited to fields of research. Today, nanotechnology is also present in standardized industrial processes.
- Nanopositioning Piezo Flexure Stages Nanopositioning Piezo Flexure StagesPI's piezo flexure stages combine sub-nanometer resolution and guiding precision with minimum crosstalk.
- Multi-Axis Piezo Flexure Stages Multi-Axis Piezo Flexure Stages
- PIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for Microscopy PIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for Microscopy
- Linear Piezo Flexure Stages Linear Piezo Flexure Stages
- XY Piezo Flexure Stages XY Piezo Flexure Stages
- Piezo Flexure Tilting Mirrors Piezo Flexure Tilting Mirrors
- Multi-Axis Piezo Flexure Stages
- Miniature Stages Miniature StagesMiniaturized stages and manipulators are essential in mobile applications for measuring and medical devices, in industrial microassembly or use for research, e.g. in UHV and non-magnetic environments.
- Miniature Linear Stages Miniature Linear Stages
- Miniature Rotation Stages Miniature Rotation Stages
- Miniature Hexapods Miniature Hexapods
- Miniature Linear Stages
- Linear Stages Linear StagesPI offers a wide range of motorized linear stages to supply high-precision industrial markets like semiconductor and photonics, as well as high-end research. Vacuum versions are available for a large number of different models. Multi-axis compositions can be set up with adapter brackets or specialized vertical stages and compatible rotation stages.
- Stages with PIMag® Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor Stages with PIMag® Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor
- Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors
- Vertical Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors Vertical Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors
- Miniature Linear Stages Miniature Linear Stages
- Stages with PIMag® Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor
- Linear Actuators Linear ActuatorsChoose from the widest range of technologies the optimum for your special demands: Set-and-forget applications benefit from the specific features of piezomotors that provide excellent long-term stability, also for vacuum or nonmagnetic environments. Stepper and DC motor solutions are well-established and reliable for both industrial and research use.
- PiezoMike for Long-Term Stability PiezoMike for Long-Term Stability
- Linear Actuators with Stepper & DC Servo Motors Linear Actuators with Stepper & DC Servo Motors
- PIMag® VC Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control Option PIMag® VC Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control Option
- PiezoMove Lever Actuators PiezoMove Lever Actuators
- Nanopositioning Piezo Actuators Nanopositioning Piezo Actuators
- PiezoWalk® Actuators with High Force & Stability PiezoWalk® Actuators with High Force & Stability
- PIRest Active Piezo Shims PIRest Active Piezo Shims
- PiezoMike for Long-Term Stability
- Rotation Stages Rotation StagesPI offers stages with all kinds of motorization and guiding options: air-bearing, torque motor driven, motorized worm-gear coupled, tiny piezomotor stages and specialized goniometer stages with orthogonal tip-tilt mounting option.
- XY Stages XY StagesStability, precision and dynamics are crucial in the application fields of PI’s XY stages. They are the basis of high throughput rates and reliable operation. PI makes use of own developments in the fields of PIMag® magnetic linear motors and PIglide air bearings. Industrial production and quality control benefit from PI’s high-load XY stages and planar scanners.
- Hexapods HexapodsHexapods provide 6 degrees of freedom in the most compact package. In combination with absolute measuring sensors, software and motion controllers that make the most complicated motion profiles easy to command, PI hexapods answer industrial requirements.
- Engineered Systems Engineered SystemsPrecision components, stable control and a great deal of experience in engineering are essential for high-precision complex motion and positioning solutions. PI is a supplier of technologically sophisticated drive components and high-precision positioners and also offers all levels of integration up to the turnkey solution.
- Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment SystemsPiezo scanners take care of fast, continuous scanning tasks, where durability, dynamics, and precision matter. The larger travel ranges are realized with XYZ combinations or 6-axis hexapods. Integrated routines make it possible to perform single-axis alignments up to complex, multi-axis fiber array positioning within the shortest possible time.
- Motion Control Software Motion Control SoftwareAll digital controllers made by PI are accompanied by an extensive software package.
- Concepts Concepts
- User Programs and Their Functions User Programs and Their Functions
- Software Tools for Hexapods Software Tools for Hexapods
- Programming Programming
- Third Party Support Third Party Support
- Controllers & Drivers Controllers & DriversThe decision for a motion controller depends on the specific application situation. Various criteria, such as limited installation space, the number of axes or the type of control, determine which controller is the right one. PI offers a broad spectrum of controls and regulation concepts.
- Nanopositioning Piezo Controllers Nanopositioning Piezo Controllers
- Piezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo Actuators Piezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo Actuators
- Motion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo Motors Motion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo Motors
- Controllers & Drivers for Piezomotors Controllers & Drivers for Piezomotors
- Controller Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive Types Controller Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive Types
- Hexapod Motion Controllers Hexapod Motion Controllers
- ACS Motion Control ACS Motion Control for Industrial Applications
- Nanopositioning Piezo Controllers
- Piezoelectric Transducers & Actuators Piezoelectric Transducers & ActuatorsPiezoelectric ultrasonic transducers are available in a wide range of shapes like disks, plates or tubes, and different performance levels. They can be adapted to application requirements by using different piezoceramic materials, electrodes, and assembling technology.
- Air Bearings & Stages Air Bearings & StagesAir bearing stages are used where vibration-free motion is required, velocity needs to be highly constant, and optimum angular repeatability is requested.
- Sensors, Components & Accessories Sensors, Components & Accessories
- New Products
- OEM OEMCustomer- and application-specific product developments form the basis for success at PI. To this purpose, requirements have to be understood and a technological solution has to be found.
- ApplicationsApplications & MarketsPI positioning systems are employed where technology is pushed forward in industry and research. This is done, for example, in semiconductor manufacturing, in medical engineering, in biotechnology, in plant engineering, in surface metrology, or in astronomy.
- Hexapods Support Industrial Robots Hexapods Support Industrial Robots
- Scientific Instrumentation Scientific Instrumentation
- Hexapod Systems for ALMA Hexapod Systems for ALMA
- Double-Crystal Monochromator Double-Crystal Monochromator for an X-Ray Spectrometer
- Materials Research in High Vacuum Materials Research in High Vacuum
- Active Vibration Isolation with Piezo Actuators Active Vibration Isolation with Piezo Actuators
- Drive Technology for the ELT Drive Technology for the ELT
- Hexapod Systems for ALMA
- Semiconductor Technology Semiconductor Technology
- Microscopy Microscopy
- Confocal Microscopy Adjustment of the Focal Planes in Confocal Microscopy
- High-Speed Microscopy High-Speed Microscopy for Quality Control
- Atomic Force Microscopy AFM Scanner for Atomic Force Microscopy
- White light interferometry 3-D Surface Inspection With Piezo-Based Positioning Systems from PI
- Confocal Microscopy
- Silicon Photonics Silicon Photonics
- Photonics Packaging Automated Photonics Packaging
- Optical Fiber Alignment Simultaneous Testing of Optical Components in Silicon Photonics
- Photonics Packaging
- Medical Technology Medical Technology
- Endoscopy Chip-on-the-Tip Video Endoscopes with Miniature Drives
- Ophthalmology High-Precision Drives in Ophthalmic Surgery
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Nonsensitive Drives for Magnetic Resonance Tomography
- Optical Coherence Tomography Piezo Technology and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
- Pipetting Piezomotors for Pipetting and Nanodispensing
- Precision Dosing Dynamic Drives for Precision Dosing with Nanodispensers
- Micropumps Piezoelectric Micropumps – Compact Design and High Performance
- Image Stabilization Image Stabilization and Microscanning with Piezo Scanners
- Adaptive Diaphragm Positioning Adaptive Diaphragm Positioning
- Materials Research Materials Research
- Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research High-Load Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research
- Laser Beam Control Piezo Drives for Laser Beam Control
- Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research
- Mechanical Engineering Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical Discharge Machining Piezo Actuators Accelerate Electrical Discharge Machining
- Hexapods in Mechanical Engineering Hexapods in Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical Discharge Machining
- Automation Automation
- Smarter Motion Positioning Smarter Motion Positioning
- Hexapods in Microproduction Hexapods in Microproduction
- Hexapods for Quality Assurance Hexapods for Quality Assurance
- Magnetic Direct Drives Magnetic Direct Drives
- Motion Simulation with Hexapods Motion Simulation with Hexapods
- Flexibility in Dimensional Measuring Hexapod Systems in Automation
- Motion Compensation with Hexapods Motion Compensation with HexapodsDynamic hexapods with piezo drives: Best conditions for motion compensation.
- Fast Piezo Ultrasonic Drives Advance Technology Fast Piezo Ultrasonic Drives Advance Technology
- Laser Material Processing Laser Material Processing
- Smarter Motion Positioning
- Beamline Instrumentation Beamline Instrumentation
- Tomography Equipment Tomography Equipment
- Synchrotron Spectroscopy in Vacuum Synchrotron Spectroscopy in Vacuum
- Beam Preparation Beam Preparation
- Sample Positioning for Tomography Sample Positioning for Tomography
- Microscopy Microscopy
- Accelerator Technology Accelerator Technology
- Tomography Equipment
- Vacuum Vacuum Compatible Linear & Rotary Stages, UHV Positioners
- Additive Manufacturing Additive Manufacturing
- TechnologyKnow-How & TechnologyPhysik Instrumente (PI) provides several linear motor techologies, e.g., ironless linear motors for applications requiring high dynamics and accuracy.
- Piezo Technology Piezo TechnologyPI Ceramic offers a wealth of experience in the manufacturing of piezoceramic materials, components, and actuators. The piezoceramic materials can be adapted individually to perfectly fit the later use of the piezo components.
- Fundamentals of Piezo Technology Fundamentals of Piezo TechnologyPhysical basics and explanations of piezo electricity and electromechanics.
- Properties of Piezo Actuators Properties of Piezo Actuators
- Piezoceramic Materials Piezoceramic MaterialsPI Ceramic offers a variety of different piezoelectric materials including lead-free materials.
- Manufacturing Technology Manufacturing Technology
- PICMA® Technology PICMA® Technology
- Integrated Piezo Actuators Integrated Piezo Actuators
- DuraAct Patch Transducer Technology DuraAct Patch Transducer Technology
- PIRest Actuators PIRest ActuatorsActive shims with long-term stability and nanometer resolution.
- Fundamentals of Piezo Technology
- Piezoelectric Drives Piezoelectric DrivesDepending on the configuration and control, piezoceramic actuators can be used to create translational motions or as motors with a virtually unlimited travel range. The choice of drive depends on the requirements of the application.
- Piezo Actuators Piezo Actuators with and without Guiding
- PiezoWalk® Walking Drives PiezoWalk® Walking Drives
- PILine® Ultrasonic Piezomotors PILine® Ultrasonic Piezomotors
- Piezo Inertia Drives Piezo Inertia Drives
- PiezoMike Linear Actuators PiezoMike Linear Actuators
- Comparison: Piezo Motors & Drive Technologies Comparison: Piezo Motors & Drive Technologies
- Piezo Actuators
- Electromagnetic Drives Electromagnetic DrivesRotating electric motors such as DC or stepper motors are used in connection with screw or worm drives. Stepper motor systems with high-resolution encoders can perform minimum incremental motions of 10 nm with high reliability and repeatability.
- Rotating Electric Motors Rotating Electric Motors from PI
- PIMag® Magnetic Direct Drives PIMag® Magnetic Direct Drives
- PIMag® 6-D Magnetic Levitation PIMag® 6-D Magnetic Levitation at Six Levels of Freedom
- Hybrid Concept Piezo & Motor Hybrid Concept
- Rotating Electric Motors
- Parallel Kinematics Parallel KinematicsIn a parallel-kinematic, multi-axis system, all actuators act directly on a single moving platform. This means that all axes can be designed with identical dynamic properties, thus reducing the moved mass considerably. Hexapods are used for moving and precision positioning, aligning and displacing loads in all six degrees of freedom, i.e., three linear and three rotational axes.
- Parallel Kinematics Piezo Positioning Systems with Parallel KinematicsIn a parallel-kinematic, multi-axis system, all actuators act directly on a single moving platform.
- Multi-Axis Positioners Multi-Axis Positioners and Stewart Platforms
- Hexapod as Motion Simulator Hexapod as Motion SimulatorMotion simulators have higher motion dynamics requirements (shakers).
- Parallel Kinematics
- Sensor Technologies Sensor TechnologiesThe linearity and repeatability achieved are not possible without highest-resolution measuring devices. Accuracies in the range of a few nanometers and below require a position measurement method that can also detect motion in this range.
- Capacitive Sensors Capacitance Nanosensors
- Incremental Sensors Linear Scale Encoders for Nanometrology & Nanopositioning
- PIOne Optical Nanometrology Encoder PIOne Optical Nanometrology Encoder
- Comparison: Position Sensor Technologies Comparison: Nanopositioning Sensor Technologies
- Capacitive Sensors
- Controllers & Software Controllers & SoftwareFast settling or extremely smooth low speed motion, high positional stability, high resolution and high dynamics – the requirements placed on piezo systems vary greatly and need drivers and controllers with a high degree of flexibility.
- Digital & Analog Interfaces Digital & Analog Interfaces
- EtherCAT Connectivity of PI Products EtherCAT Connectivity of PI Products
- Control of Piezo Actuators Piezo Controllers & Drivers for Nanopositioning Systems
- Digital Motion Controllers Digital Motion Controllers
- Digital & Analog Interfaces
- Guiding Systems & Force Transmission Guiding Systems & Force TransmissionFlexure joints, mechanical guide components or magnetic bearings? Which kind of guiding system PI uses in its products depends on parameters such as travel range, required precision, load, lifetime, and ambient conditions.
- Classical Guiding Systems Comparison: Classical Guiding Systems and Force Transmission
- Flexure Guiding Systems Flexure Guiding Systems for Nanopositioning & Piezo Actuators
- Magnetic Bearings Magnetic Levitation & Precision Bearings for NanopositioningMagnetic levitation allows excellent guiding accuracy in a plane, both linear and rotational.
- PIglide Air Bearing Technology PIglide Air Bearing TechnologyMulti-axis motion with nanometer precision and without friction.
- Classical Guiding Systems
- Vacuum Vacuum Compatible Linear & Rotary Stages, UHV PositionersCareful handling, adequate premises: PI does not only have the necessary equipment for the qualification of materials, components and final products, but also has many years of experience with regard to HV und UHV positioning systems.
- Glossary PI Glossary for Technical TermsFind useful explanations of technical terms in the PI Glossary.
- SupportSupportOnline services from PI UK.
- On-Site Services On-Site ServicesThe PI Global Services Division (GSD) is a team of PI skilled after-sales support engineers located around the world, dedicated to providing world class customer support.
- Extended Warranty Extended Warranty
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- Expert Consultancy from PI Expert Consultancy from PIIf our customers need to solve a complex problem, they often require individual advice. We will come to visit you.
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- Product Documentation & Software Product Documentation & SoftwareUser manuals, technical notes, datasheets, CAD files for download.
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- Whitepapers & Success Stories Whitepapers & Success StoriesFind whitepapers and success stories for download.
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- Connect with PI Connect with PI
- News & EventsNews & EventsLatest news and global trade fairs.
- News & Press News & PressLatest news on PI UK and PI global: Browse our news archive
- Trade fairs & Events Trade fairs & EventsTake the opportunity to experience our products live and discuss your application with our development and sales engineers.
- Lunch and Learn Lunch and LearnLearn in technical educational seminars from experts how our products & technologies work.
- PI Youtube Channel Subscribe to our Youtube ChannelFind videos about our products, technologies and applications.
- About PI UKAbout PI UKPI UK, based in the Technology Park alongside Cranfield University (Bedfordshire).
- Technology Center Technology CenterThe technology center provides space not only for offices but also for application labs, metrology labs, and cleanrooms for vacuum or cryogenic chambers.
- Fractal Manufacturing Structure at PI Fractal Manufacturing Structure at PIPI manufactures in autonomous organization fractals. Each unit is responsible for its own product line, has all the necessary skills and production equipment.
- Metrology MetrologyPI qualifies its products with external measuring equipment. These are calibrated in part and traceable to a national standard. Using the PIOne incremental encoder and capacitive sensors, PI manufactures own metrology for inclusion in PI products.
- Manufacturing in Cleanrooms at PI Manufacturing in Cleanrooms at PIPI has the capability to manufacture and qualify products under cleanroom conditions, which is extended and improved continually according to market needs.
- Heavy Load Hall Heavy Duty Hall for Positioning Systems Weighing Several TonsThe product range from a two-ton hexapod to a ten-gram nanopositioner requires that PI can both manufacture and qualify these systems. For this reason, PI operates a heavy duty hall at its location in Karlsruhe for the assembly and measurement of masses up to five tons.
- Certified Quality Certified QualityPI aims to apply the same high quality, safety and environmental protection standards worldwide. The Integrated Management System reflects this commitment.
- The PI Group The PI GroupPI stands for technical excellence and continuous advance in precision positioning – driven by the passion for technology and its use in customer applications.
- About PI miCos PI miCos GmbH, GermanyAs a member of the PI Group, PI miCos makes a strong contribution in the field engineered systems and is the center of expertise for positioning systems with magnetic drives.
- PI Worldwide PI WorldwideThe PI Group represented by subsidiaries and dealers all over the world. Check here to find your local contact!
- How to Get to PI UK How to Get to PI UKOn this site you find our adress data and a Google Maps plugin to plan your route.
- Customer Testimonials Customer TestimonialsCustomer testimonials and comments made by the people that interact with PI on a regular basis. These relationships and partnerships range from between 6 months and 10+ years.
- PI UK BlogPI UK BlogFind news on products, technologies and applications, and information on trade fairs and other events.
- Reference Edge, Robust Industrial Connectors, Connector for Purge Air, Debris Protection Reference Edge, Robust Industrial Connectors, Connector for Purge Air, Debris ProtectionDr. Cliff Jolliffe explains the motivation for development and why the new series of linear stages meet the requirements of machine builders.
- Industry-Compliant, Motorised, Precision Positioning Systems Industry-Compliant, Motorised, Precision Positioning SystemsMany of PI’s positioning solutions that were originally developed for specific applications are part of today’s standard portfolio. A new clearly structured catalog now provides an overview of the broad range of standard industry-compliant motorised single- and multi-axis positioning solutions. Download the catalog or request the printed document.
- 2018 Motion Control Industry Awards Another successful year for Physik Instrumente at the 2018 Motion Control Industry AwardsPhysik Instrumente (PI) has caught the attention of the judges of the Motion Control Industry Awards for the third year running and is shortlisted in the Manufacturer of the Year and Project of the year categories. The awards acknowledge the achievements of motion control companies and individuals, and have become a leading event in the industry, this year taking place at the, held at the National Conference Centre in Solihull on the 10th of April.
- Everything flows - Investigating the science behind rock deformations Everything flowsEarth science is a highly interdisciplinary subject with a focus on understanding the processes behind the formation and evolution of the solid earth, its oceans and atmosphere. At the University of Oxford, researchers are investigating the science behind rock deformations, using equipment developed in collaboration with PI to look at how the microscopic features of specific minerals ultimately influence the mechanics of plate tectonics.
- Setting up and Adjusting a Fluorescent Microscope for Reliable Examination Results Setting up and Adjusting a Fluorescent Microscope for Reliable Examination ResultsFluorescent microscopy does not only help to make nanometer-small structures visible, but also to examine living cells and therefore explore the cell processes. In addition to preparing the sample, it is of paramount importance to set up and adjust the microscope properly to get usable results. This is exactly what the GATTAscope project is all about.
- Visit PI at Drives & Controls Come and visit us and discover the ACS motion control solutions at Drives & Control 2018Join PI on stand D744 at Drives & Controls 2018 at the NEC Birmingham from the 10th to the 12th of April to discover the ACS motion control solutions range. On display in the UK for the first time, these high performance EtherCAT®-based controllers and multi-axis drives enable the use of various motor types that can be conveniently integrated into a wide variety of high-end and demanding automation applications.
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Noncontact, Direct Position Measurement with Subnanometer Accuracy
- Absolute measurement of distance, motion, and vibration
- Measuring ranges from a few 10 µm to 2 mm feasible
- Direct metrology: Direct position measurement of moving objects
- Only minimum heating, no scattered light
- Vacuum compatible to 10-9 hPa
- Maintenance-free, no wear
- High bandwidth up to 10 kHz
- High temperature and long-term stability (<0.1 nm/3 h)
- Invar options for maximum temperature stability (5 × 10-6/K)
- Compact one- and two-electrode sensors, customized designs
- Processing electronics in various configuration levels, from analog original equipment manufacturer (OEM) versions to a modular designed digital controller system that can be expanded at any time
Noncontact Measuring Principle
Homogenous Electrical Field Ensures High Linearity
The PI arrangement with an additional guard ring electrode generates a very homogenous field in the active area.
In addition, all electronics from PI use integrated linearization methods that correct parallelity errors between the sensor plates. Depending on the material used, capacitive sensors provide excellent long-term stability that is largely independent of thermal influences.
C Capacitance A Active sensor surface d Distance between sensor and target surface ε0 Constant εr The electric constant of the material between the capacitor plates
Integration in the Positioning System
Capacitive single-plate sensors measure against all kinds of conductive surfaces and are easier to handle mechanically, for example, during installation or cable routing. Their employment is also more versatile, e.g., for detecting motions perpendicular to the direction of measurement.
Signal Processing with Linearization
The processing and measurement electronics only demonstrate minimal noise and employ a linearization system (ILS), that compensates for the influences of parallelity errors between the capacitor plates.
Digital controllers offer the highest accuracy through additional linearization algorithms with higher-order polynomials.
All systems are calibrated at PI and optimized for the intended bandwidth and the measuring range. PI offers signal condition electronics for capacitive sensors in various configuration levels, from analog OEM versions to a modular digital controller system that can be expanded at any time.
Indirect Position Measurement with Strain Gauge Sensors (SGS)
Strain gauge sensors consist of a thin metal or semiconductor foil (piezo resistant), which is attached to the piezo ceramics or, for improved precision, to the guiding system of a flexure stage. This type of position measurement is done with contact and indirectly, since the position of the moving platform is derived from a measurement on the lever, guide or piezo stack. Strain gauge sensors derive the position information from their expansion. Full-bridge circuits with several strain gauge sensors per axis improve thermal stability.
PISeca: Capacitive Single Electrode Sensors
PISeca: Capacitive Single Electrode Sensors
PISeca single-electrode capacitive sensors measure against all kinds of conductive surfaces and are easier to handle mechanically, for example, during installation or cable routing. Their employment is also more versatile, e.g., for detecting motions perpendicular to the direction of measurement.
The E-852 stand-alone processing electronics for PISeca only shows minimum noise and integrates a linearization system. All systems are calibrated at PI and optimized for the intended bandwidth and the measuring range.
>> PISeca Sensors and the corresponding processing electronics are offered as a product by PI.
Applications for Capacitive Single and Dual Electrode Sensors
Measurement of Vibration, Flatness, Thickness
The high dynamics of the PISeca system also allows measurement with excellent resolution of vibrations and oscillations. The evenness of a rotating workpiece or differences in thickness in the nanometer range can thus also be detected. For example, one possible field of application is the production of disk drives or the active compensation of vibration.
Measuring Distances with Nanometer Accuracy
Capacitive sensors reliably measure shortest distances. The quantity to be measured is the change of capacitance between the surface of the sensor head and the target surface using a homogenous electric field. The achieved accuracy lies the subnanometer range. Absolute values are determined with a well-adjusted, calibrated system.
Parallel Metrology / High-Precision Multi-Axis Measurements
For closed-loop, multi-axis nanopositioning tasks, high-performance stages with capacitive sensors combine direct metrology and paralles kinematics. When used in multi-axis nanopositioning systems, this allows measuring all degrees of freedom at the same time and actively compensating guiding errors (Active Trajectory Control concept). Here, capacitive sensors are the most precise measuring systems to give the best position resolution results.
Tip/Tilt Measurement and Compensation
Integrating capacitive sensors in a measurement set-up allows measuring tip/tilt motion precisely. The moved object's tip angle is measured differentially, and if required, compensated for.
Force Sensors with Micronewton Sensitivity
Capacitive single plate sensors are often used as high-resolution force sensors for contact-free measurement in the micronewton range. Here, minimal deviations in distance are measured contact-free over longer distances are resolutions in the subnanometer range without affecting the process to be measured. The defined stiffness of the system enables calculation of the force.
Nanopositioning / Closed Loop Systems
Nanopositioning is one application of the high-resolution displacement measurement. Here, capacitive two-plate sensors measure the direct distance and actual position of the moved object with the utmost precision. The high sensor bandwidth also allows closed-loop control in dynamic applications.
Measuring Straightness and Flatness, and Active Cross Talk Compensation
One possible application for it is the cross talk measurement in nanopositioning. This allows detecting undesired cross talking of the motion to another axis and active compensation in real time. The high sensor bandwidth provides excellent dynamic performance.
Out-of-Plane Measurement, Constant Height Scans and Out-of-Round Measurement
Compensation of undulating or oscillating motion, e.g., in constant height scans or in white-light interferometry, are applications for which capacitive sensors are especially well suited.