- 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 ProductsOn this site you wil find our current new products. If you want to find out more, just contact us: Our sales engineers will get back to you as quickly as possible.
- 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 StagesPI’s multi-axis piezo flexure stages allow positioning and scanning with sub-nanometer precision in up to 6 axis, including tip, tilt and yaw motion. Versions range from most compact cube design to large aperture and low profile.
- PIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for Microscopy PIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for MicroscopyPiezo flexure stages and objective scanners of the PIFOC® and PInano® series offer high dynamics in positioning and scanning tasks. Well adapted solutions for XY specimen positioning parallel and vertical to the optical axis and Z focusing of the objective are available as standard products.
- Linear Piezo Flexure Stages Linear Piezo Flexure StagesPI’s nanopositioning stages and scanners combine nanometer-precision resolution and guiding precision with minimum crosstalk. This makes them particularly suitable for reference applications in metrology, for microscopic processes, for interferometry or in inspection systems for semiconductor chip production.
- XY Piezo Flexure Stages XY Piezo Flexure StagesHigh-precision 2-axis nanopositioning systems integrate PICMA® piezo actuators for maximum reliability. Repeatable, drift-free positioning with optimal stability is possible by the use of high-quality nanometrology sensors.
- Piezo Flexure Tilting Mirrors Piezo Flexure Tilting MirrorsThe high stiffness of piezo flexure mirror platforms allows for high dynamics and excellent position stability. The compact devices are frequently used for beam deflection in laser processing and laser steering. Their parallel-kinematic design creates identical performance in tip and tilt axis, with a common fixed pivot point and no change of polarization direction.
- 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 StagesMiniature stages are essential in positioning tasks where available space is limited. Piezomotor solutions like Q-motion, PIline® and PiezoWalk® allow for the most compact stages due to their direct drive principle.
- Miniature Rotation Stages Miniature Rotation StagesRotation stages with piezomotor make for particularly compact sizes. These compact rotation stages can be used in optics applications, where they position, for example, filters reliably and with excellent repeatability. Rotation stages can be mounted on linear stages without adapter and allow for flexible combinations of multi-axis positioning systems.
- Miniature Hexapods Miniature HexapodsThe smallest devices for 6 degrees of freedom are built from Q-motion piezomotor stages, but also palm-size BLDC motor versions are available. Best overall homogeneity of performance is achieved with the classic hexapod design. Low-profile design is preferred when relatively large tilting angles are required.
- 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 MotorStages with PIMag® Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor. The friction-free magnetic direct drive principle allows for most dynamic stages. Compared with motor-spindle-based stages, they use fewer mechanical components which results in less friction and backlash and thus more precision.
- Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) MotorsIndustrial applications in the production process such as laser processing benefit from the precise positioning accuracy of motorized positioning stages. Their low profile makes the variable stage series suitable for universal use, ranging from testing systems to production lines in precision automation.
- Vertical Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors Vertical Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) MotorsVertical stages can be mounted on linear stages without adapter and allow for flexible combinations of multi-axis positioning systems.
- 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 StabilityThe PiezoMike linear actuators offer the high resolution of piezo direct drives, high forces and absolutely stable positioning. This makes them ideal for set-and-forget applications with high precision requirements like the positioning of optical elements in a laser application.
- Linear Actuators with Stepper & DC Servo Motors Linear Actuators with Stepper & DC Servo MotorsMotorized linear actuators are indispensable in automation routines from industrial production to adjustment in research laboratories.
- PIMag® VC Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control Option PIMag® VC Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control OptionVoice coil drives show very high velocities and allow for fast step-and-settle. Wear-free flexure guidings or mechanical guidings are available. The optional force control allows for stand-alone solutions in pressure-sensitive device testing.
- PiezoMove Lever Actuators PiezoMove Lever Actuators
- Nanopositioning Piezo Actuators Nanopositioning Piezo ActuatorsPIezoMove actuators are flexure-guided and have strokes up to 1 mm. Being very compact, they can be easily integrated. Generating forces of up to 10000 N and strokes of up to 100 µm are the characteristics of nanopositioning piezo actuators based on PICMA® multilayer piezos.
- PiezoWalk® Actuators with High Force & Stability PiezoWalk® Actuators with High Force & StabilityPiezoWalk® actuators are highly specialized piezobased drives intended for integration. Designed for use in the semiconductor industry, they boost on reliability, position resolution and long-term stability. Their special features include minimum size with high force generation. The drive itself is resistant to magnetic fields.
- 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 ConceptsPI pursues a cross-platform and hardware-independent concept in the design of the motion control software.
- User Programs and Their Functions User Programs and Their FunctionsEvery PI controller is delivered with an extensive software package that supports the user in setting up and parametrizing the overall system.
- Software Tools for Hexapods Software Tools for Hexapods
- Programming ProgrammingCustomers can program or adapt their own user programs so that every PI controller can be seamlessly integrated into their application.
- 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 ControllersPI offers the broadest range of digital and analog piezo control concepts that are adapted for optimal result in every application. Calibration of all piezo systems is done before delivery and all systems are delivered ready for operation.
- Piezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo Actuators Piezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo ActuatorsPI’s piezo drivers are available as benchtop or rackmount solutions, and as OEM modules also with separate power supply for minimized size. Piezo drivers integrate high-performance amplifiers specialized for different fields of applications.
- Motion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo Motors Motion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo MotorsPI develops motion control solutions in-house to best adjust the features to the requirements of both drive and application. PI’s motion controllers are generally designed as single-channel devices and are available as benchtop, rackmount or OEM versions.
- Controllers & Drivers for Piezomotors Controllers & Drivers for Piezomotors
- Controller Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive Types Controller Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive TypesModular motion controller systems provide best flexibility for increasing the number of axes in a system. They allow the use of different drive types with only one user interface. The number of available models is continuously extended. Contact PI now for your individual controller setup!
- Hexapod Motion Controllers Hexapod Motion ControllersAs unique as the hexapod mechanics, the motion controller is designed to make parallel kinematics algorithms as easy and unnoticed by the user as possible: All target positions are commanded in Cartesian coordinates. For best integration in automation processes, the Hexapod motion controller is available with industrial EtherCAT interface.
- ACS Motion Control ACS Motion Control for Industrial ApplicationsWe recommend the controllers of our partner, ACS Motion Control especially for automation with industrial standards. Ask us about your integrated solution!
- 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 RobotsBecause the need for multi-axis and also precision robots in production and quality processes is on the increase, industry is looking out for new types of robotics. PI offers parallel-kinematic hexapods for these tasks.
- Scientific Instrumentation Scientific InstrumentationThe term "scientific instrumentation" covers a variety of different applications, starting with microscopy via beamline processes through to the wide field of laboratory automation.
- Hexapod Systems for ALMA Hexapod Systems for ALMAUnder the extreme conditions of the Atacama Desert, PI hexapods align the subreflectors to the large main reflectors of the ALMA radio telescopes.
- Double-Crystal Monochromator Double-Crystal Monochromator for an X-Ray SpectrometerThe PI Beamline Instrumentation division’s aim is to develop application oriented solutions, e.g., this monochromator for an X-ray spectrometer.
- Materials Research in High Vacuum Materials Research in High VacuumPI provides standard and custom high vacuum compatible positioning systems for materials research with high-energy X-rays.
- Active Vibration Isolation with Piezo Actuators Active Vibration Isolation with Piezo ActuatorsActive vibration isolation reduces settling times, increases precision in measurement and production sequences and achieves high throughput rates.
- Drive Technology for the ELT Drive Technology for the ELTThe European - Extremely Large Telescope, in short E-ELT, is the largest terrestrial telescope for scientific evaluation of electromagnetic radiation.
- Hexapod Systems for ALMA
- Semiconductor Technology Semiconductor TechnologyLithographic processes are the reason why chips are getting smaller and smaller and why extremely fine structures can be realized on silicon wafers. Piezo drives have made these technical advances possible with their performance and reliability.
- Microscopy MicroscopyImaging processes increase efficiency across a number of fields, ranging from medical engineering to pharmaceutical research and manufacturing of semiconductors.
- Confocal Microscopy Adjustment of the Focal Planes in Confocal MicroscopyConfocal microscopy is used to detect the structure of the sample surface through the shifting of the focal plane, for example in dermatology.
- Positioning Solutions for Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM) Positioning Solutions for Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM)Linear stages adjust the laser beam in the TIRF microscope. Precision positioning of the sample is possible by combining two XY stages.
- High-Speed Microscopy High-Speed Microscopy for Quality ControlSpecimen positioning on AFM scanners for atomic force microscopy is performed with piezo-based scanning stages which thus play a key role.
- Atomic Force Microscopy AFM Scanner for Atomic Force MicroscopySpecimen positioning on AFM scanners for atomic force microscopy is performed with piezo-based scanning stages which thus play a key role.
- White Light Interferometry 3-D Surface Inspection With Piezo-Based Positioning Systems from PIHigh-resolution camera systems are combined with white light interferometry for 3-D surface inspection with picometer resolution.
- Confocal Microscopy
- Silicon Photonics Silicon PhotonicsSilicon photonics allows data rates into the Tbit/s range and is therefore suitable for computer-aided services that require the highest possible transmission speeds.
- Photonics Packaging Automated Photonics PackagingAn automated assembly and alignment system can reduce the manufacturing process for silicon photonics to only a few minutes. However, handling the delicate waveguides is indeed a major challenge as the integration of the light sources at a wafer level and connection of the optical inputs and outputs are difficult to perform.
- Optical Fiber Alignment Simultaneous Testing of Optical Components in Silicon PhotonicsSilicon photonics presents new challenges for the production of components as well as testing and slicing the wafers.
- Photonics Packaging
- Medical Technology Medical TechnologyProgress in pharmaceutical research, diagnostics, and therapy requires high-performance and precise position systems. In addition to high positioning precision, requirements for the drives often include compact dimensions, low energy consumption, speed, and high reliability.
- Endoscopy Chip-on-the-Tip Video Endoscopes with Miniature DrivesPiezomotors and magnetic miniature drives offer the option of better focus and zoom functions in chip-on-the-tip video endoscopes.
- Ophthalmology High-Precision Drives in Ophthalmic SurgeryThe control and focusing of laser beams in ophthalmic surgery requires accurate positioning systems, such as piezo-driven tip/tilt mirror systems.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Nonsensitive Drives for Magnetic Resonance TomographyPiezo drives are well suited for magnetic resonance therapy, because they are not influenced by strong magnetic fields.
- Optical Coherence Tomography Piezo Technology and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)Piezo actuators and drives, e.g., PILine® OEM motors, ensure the high precision and position stability required for optical coherence tomography (OCT).
- Pipetting Piezomotors for Pipetting and NanodispensingPiezomotors are suited for pipetting with small devices and sample separations and are able to move the pipettes in the vertical direction.
- Precision Dosing Dynamic Drives for Precision Dosing with NanodispensersPiezo actuators are ideal for precision dosing with nanodispensers: They can switch valves directly, and can also work against a closing spring.
- Micropumps Piezoelectric Micropumps – Compact Design and High PerformancePiezoelectric micro-diaphragm pumps offer high performance on small space – the drives allow a continuous flow and a variable flow rate.
- Image Stabilization Image Stabilization and Microscanning with Piezo ScannersFast, piezo-based scanners operate with the necessary velocities in the video frequency range for image stabilization and microscanning.
- Adaptive Diaphragm Positioning Adaptive Diaphragm PositioningIn radiation therapy, the individual leaves are adjusted so that the healthy tissue offers the optimum protection from the radiation.
- Materials Research Materials ResearchEfficiency has become an important buzzword these days. Materials research has paid a major contribution as the results have, for example, optimized processing methods. Methods such as X-rays and lasers or white light interferometry demand precise positioning of the specimens to be examined and of optics or beam control.
- Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research High-Load Parallel Kinematics for Materials ResearchThe high-energy X-rays at beamlines provide numerous possibilities for materials research, such as checking welding seams of workpieces.
- Laser Beam Control Piezo Drives for Laser Beam ControlLasers are tools that can be used in many areas of application. At the same time, the laser beam control requires precision, dynamics, and reliability.
- Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research
- Mechanical Engineering Mechanical EngineeringMechanical engineering and manufacturing technology require fast, reliable and energy-saving drive components. The spectrum ranges from piezo actuators to six-axis parallel kinematics which can communicate directly with CNC controls.
- Electrical Discharge Machining Piezo Actuators Accelerate Electrical Discharge MachiningPrecision components are manufactured using electrical discharge machining, often in large numbers. Vibrating piezo actuators make a crucial contribution here.
- Hexapods in Mechanical Engineering Hexapods in Mechanical EngineeringPI hexapod 6-axis positioning systems can handle loads from 2 kg to several tons. Ideal for precision mechanical engineering applications.
- Electrical Discharge Machining
- Automation AutomationPiezo drives, magnetic direct drives, and hexapods are part and parcel of automation today. They operate precisely and reliably and have proven themselves under rugged conditions.
- Smarter Motion Positioning Smarter Motion PositioningPositioning and motion tasks in industrial automation such as those in assembly, semiconductor manufacturing, mechanical engineering, laser material processing, inspection systems or in additive manufacturing demand solutions that need to be robust and reliable.
- Hexapods in Microproduction Hexapods in MicroproductionWhat do optical components and glass fibers in photonics, mobile devices, and high-quality wristwatches all have in common?
- Hexapods for Quality Assurance Hexapods for Quality AssuranceMicroproduction technology makes high-precision positioning systems absolutely necessary for both assembly and quality assurance.
- Magnetic Direct Drives Magnetic Direct DrivesMagnetic direct drives, which include voice-coil actuators and linear drives, are often predestined here as the best solutions for many reasons.
- Motion Simulation with Hexapods Motion Simulation with HexapodsMotion simulation with hexapods with CIPA certificate from PI (Physik Instrumente) – vibrating tables are used for testing resistance to vibration.
- Flexibility in Dimensional Measuring Hexapod Systems in AutomationHexapods allow for an outstanding flexibility for a variety of samples of in-line automation systems by minimizing the space for motion robotics.
- 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 TechnologyWhen increased demands are placed on an application, ultrasonic piezo motors can prove to be a good alternative, as they can be used in many ways.
- Laser Material Processing Laser Material ProcessingPI offers automation platforms for high-precision and high-throughput laser material processing, such as laser marking, laser cutting and micromachining.
- Smarter Motion Positioning
- Beamline Instrumentation Beamline InstrumentationScientific experiments pose their own challenges, and beamline X-ray experiments are even more special in themselves. However, the need for precision equipment is universal.
- 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 TechnologyDynamic compensation of Lorentz forces at the XFEL accelerator structures: The particle accelerator XFEL at the DESY (German Electron Synchrotron) uses acceleration technology based on super-conducting acceleration structures, so-called resonators or cavities.
- Tomography Equipment
- Vacuum Vacuum Compatible Linear & Rotary Stages, UHV PositionersThe materials used for vacuum positioning stages are aluminum alloys, stainless steels, or titanium. Surface treatment is adapted to the vacuum class, for example, the surfaces of the higher vacuum classes are not coated but electro polished.
- Additive Manufacturing Additive ManufacturingDue to their high dynamics and pushing forces piezo actuators are highly suitable for the use in machines for 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 ActuatorsCharacteristics of piezoceramic actuators: Displacement modes, forces and stiffnesses, dynamics. Ambient conditions.
- Piezoceramic Materials Piezoceramic MaterialsPI Ceramic offers a variety of different piezoelectric materials including lead-free materials.
- Manufacturing Technology Manufacturing TechnologyPI Ceramic offers a wide range of manufacturing technologies: Pressing or tape technology, assembling technology and testing procedures.
- PICMA® Technology PICMA® TechnologyHighly reliable and extended lifetime through the patented manufacturing process for multilayer actuators.
- Integrated Piezo Actuators Integrated Piezo ActuatorsTo avoid pull forces, these piezo elements are provided with a mechanical preload in mechanical cases or by means of flexure joints.
- DuraAct Patch Transducer Technology DuraAct Patch Transducer TechnologyManufacture, functional principle and typical working parameters of DuraAct patch transducers explain the possible force generation and deflection.
- 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 GuidingPiezoelectric actuators offer subnanometer resolution and very short response times, making them ideally suitable for nanometer-precision positioning at high dynamics.
- PiezoWalk® Walking Drives PiezoWalk® Walking DrivesPiezoWalk® drives were developed more than 10 years ago for the semiconductor industry, a demanding industry when it comes to reliability, position resolution and long-term stability.
- PILine® Ultrasonic Piezomotors PILine® Ultrasonic PiezomotorsUltrasonic piezomotors dispense with the mechanical complexity of classical rotary motor/gear/leadscrew combinations in favor of costs and reliability.
- Piezo Inertia Drives Piezo Inertia DrivesInertia Drives are space-saving and low-cost piezo-based drives with relatively high holding forces and a travel range that is only limited by the length of the runner.
- PiezoMike Linear Actuators PiezoMike Linear ActuatorsCompact, low-cost inertia drive principle (stick-slip). When at rest, the drive is self-locking, requires no current and generates no heat. It holds the position with maximum force.
- Comparison: Piezo Motors & Drive Technologies Comparison: Piezo Motors & Drive TechnologiesPIs drive technologies in comparison: Piezo motors, stepping drives, ultrasonic drives, and piezo inertia drives.
- 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 PIRotating electric motors such as DC or stepper motors are used in connection with screw or worm drives.
- PIMag® Magnetic Direct Drives PIMag® Magnetic Direct DrivesIn particular in terms of wear and dynamics, magnetic direct drives offer advantages compared to common spindle-based technologies.
- PIMag® 6-D Magnetic Levitation PIMag® 6-D Magnetic Levitation at Six Levels of FreedomPIMag® 6-D is an electromagnetic positioning system in which the passive platform levitates on a magnetic field and is actively guided by it.
- Hybrid Concept Piezo & Motor Hybrid ConceptIn the hybrid concept, the DC servo motor (large travel ranges) and the piezo drive (nanometer accuracy) are combined with one another.
- 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 PlatformsHexapod platforms are used for precision positioning and alignment of loads in all six degrees of freedom, three linear axes, and three rotational axes.
- 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 NanosensorsCapacitive sensors are the metrology system of choice for the most demanding nanopositioning applications.
- Incremental Sensors Linear Scale Encoders for Nanometrology & NanopositioningPI uses incremental measurement systems for longer travel ranges, starting from approximately one millimeter. These sensors, which in most cases are optical sensors, achieve position resolution down to the picometer range.
- PIOne Optical Nanometrology Encoder PIOne Optical Nanometrology EncoderThe PIOne high-resolution linear sensor developed by PI ensures a position resolution of far less than one nanometer with adequate measurement analysis.
- Comparison: Position Sensor Technologies Comparison: Nanopositioning Sensor TechnologiesPositioning systems that need to provide accuracies in the range of a few nanometers and below require a position measurement technique that can also detect motion in this range.
- 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 InterfacesFast USB or TCP/IP interfaces as well as RS-232 are the standard interfaces supported by modern digital controllers from PI. Furthermore, PI also provides digital or analog real-time capable interfaces.
- EtherCAT Connectivity of PI Products EtherCAT Connectivity of PI ProductsPI offers high-precision drives for use as EtherCAT slave, or integrates with ACS Motion Controllers as Master, or 2nd Master in an existing architecture.
- Control of Piezo Actuators Piezo Controllers & Drivers for Nanopositioning SystemsCharacteristic properties of piezo actuators include high feed forces and fast response. Since piezoelectric actuators react to even the smallest change in voltage with a motion, noise or drift in the control must be avoided.
- Digital Motion Controllers Digital Motion ControllersDigital technology opens up possibilities for improving performance in control engineering which do not exist with conventional analog technology.
- 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 TransmissionPositioners with travel ranges from several millimeters to one meter usually utilize traditional mechanical guide components such as ball bearings.
- Flexure Guiding Systems Flexure Guiding Systems for Nanopositioning & Piezo ActuatorsFlexure guides from PI have proven their worth in nanopositioning. They guide the piezo actuator and ensure a straight motion without tilting or lateral offset.
- 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.
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- 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.
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- 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.
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HV and UHV Positioning Systems
- Vacuum classes from 10-3 to 10-10 hPa
- Careful selection of components and materials
- In-house developed drives such as piezo actuators and piezomotors, or suitable electric motors
- Painstaking design taking outgassing behavior into account
- Careful handling, adequate premises: Equipped for the qualification of materials, components and final products – also in combination with other difficult environments: Nonmagnetic, cryo, extreme ultraviolet (EUV)
- Longstanding experience
Classification of Vacuum Stages at PI
To determine the required vacuum class, it is necessary to know the application as well as possible. Crystallography or optical coating, for example, have different requirements not only with regard to the pressure range but also with regard to allowed residual materials in the vacuum chamber.
Frequently, the partial pressure of carbon hydrides is decisive. They are part of lubricants and plastics, are released when pumping out the vacuum chamber, and can contaminate surfaces. Laser applications in the UV range are particularly sensible because carbon hydrides are split up and precipitate on the optical system.
Further modifications of products suitable for UHV:
- Extremely high vacuum up to 10-11 hPa
- Lubricant-free design
- Suitable for operation in a cryogenic environment at -269 to 40 °C
- Suitable for operation in magnetic fields, radiation resistance (particle and X-ray radiation, EUV)
High vacuum (HV)
1 × 10-3 hPa to 1 × 10-6 hPa
Ultrahigh vacuum (UHV)
1 × 10-7 hPa to 1 × 10-9 hPa
1 hPa = 1 mbar
Drive Types for Vacuum Environments
Next to the drive, the selection of suitable materials and additional components is crucial for the vacuum compatibility of a positioning system. Piezo stages employ technologies which are exceptionally well suited for vacuum use as a matter of principle:
Piezo actuators, capacitive positioning sensors, and flexure joint guides.
In addition, they do not require any lubricants and grease for operation.
The PICMA® piezo actuators in all PI nanopositioning systems are manufactured without polymers and have particularly low gas emissions as a consequence. They can be baked out at up to 150 °C. PICMA® piezo actuators are exceptionally well suited for use in very strong magnetic fields. Piezo positioning systems can be manufactured without ferromagnetic materials.
Piezo actuators show displacements well into the cryogenic range. Special models of PICMA® actuators can be used down to -271°C but with a considerably reduced travel range.
Regardless of the drive principle, all >> Piezomotors can be used in a vacuum environment. Piezomotors can also be used in magnetic fields, because they do not generate magnetic fields nor are they affected by them. Piezomotors are the drive of choice, especially when radiation resistance and travel ranges in the millimeter range are required.
Motorized stages employ special 2-phase stepper motors which operate reliably up to 10-9 hPa. Bakeable limit switches and suitable measuring systems round off the choice. In general, vacuum stages offer lower velocities and a shorter service life than variants for indoor air.
Materials and Design
The requirements for a vacuum-compatible material include:
- no particle emission
- no outgassing
- bakeable and temperature resistant
Stainless steel, aluminum, titanium,
bronze, FKM (e.g., Viton),
PTFE (e.g., Teflon), PEEK,
polyimide (e.g., Kapton),
glass ceramics (e.g., Macor)
The materials used for vacuum positioning stages are aluminum alloys, stainless steels, or titanium. Surface treatment is adapted to the vacuum class, for example, the surfaces of the higher vacuum classes are not coated but electro polished.
For a use in HV and UHV, special vacuum lubricants are used. On request, the lubricant may be defined when placing the order. Vacuum cable insulation is made of PTFE or FEP (Teflon), on request also of polyimide (Kapton) or PEEK. The use of plastics and adhesives is reduced as far as possible.
Painstaking Design for Highly Sensitive Environments
Stages specifically developed for vacuum operation must meet a number of criteria. Vacuum chambers only offer limited space and therefore require a compact design.
Air pockets, i.e., under mountings, must be avoided as they considerably delay or even make generating a stable vacuum impossible.
The selection of suitable components, especially the drive systems, is very important. In particular, it is very important to take heat generation during operation into account, as heat can only be dissipated with great difficulty under vacuum. Knowledge of the planned working cycles is therefore useful for selection. This allows advance testing of the outgassing behavior of the selected individual parts.
Vacuum environments can be found in many sensitive high-tehnology fields such as:
- Semiconductor technology
- Beamline Instrumentation
- Aviation and aerospace
- Materials Research
PI offers UHV versions as catalog products for a number of positioning stage series. Almost all stages can be modified for use in different classes of vacuum. Design and manufacture for ranges beyond these limits are offered on request. Complete solutions for several axes are also possible. The vacuum feedthroughs are not included in the scope of delivery and may be ordered separately, if required. Unless agreed otherwise or described for the individual product, the bakeout temperature is max. 80 °C.
Controllers, Amplifiers, and Other Electronic Devices
In general, the control electronics is not suitable for being operated in the vacuum chamber. It has to be mounted outside of the chamber.
Brochure: Positioning in VacuumHigh-Precision Solutions to 10-10 hPaBRO30BRO30
Whitepaper: Motion Control and Precision Positioning in Vacuum EnvironmentsWP4005English
Catalog: PI Piezo Nano Positioning 2014/2015CAT130CAT130