Compact closed-loop motion controller provides nanometer resolution for miniature piezo motor micrometers

PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P. has announced a new compact closed-loop motion controller. The new E-871.1A1N digital servo controller is the latest model in a series of drivers and controllers specifically designed for inertia-motor based opto-mechanical actuators (piezo ratchet drives) that are widely used in the semiconductor, laser and photonics industry for fine-tuning of complex systems. The miniature actuators are often employed as “set-and-forget” mechanisms with an option to remotely make adjustments, where manual micrometer screws would necessitate a system-shutdown to allow for corrections. Other application fields include bio-nanotechnology, microscopy, and micro-manipulation.

The E-871.1A1N has an integrated power amplifier and voltage generator for piezo inertia drives and is optimized for PI’s compact N-472 series of closed-loop PiezoMike precision actuators which provide high stability, long lifetime of more than 1 billion steps, and low cost of ownership.

The E-871.1A1N is equipped with a data recorder for high speed tracing, ID chip compatibility for quick start-up and exchange of system components without recalibration. The controllers are delivered with extensive software packages, including support for LabVIEW, MATLAB, C / C++ / C# / VB.NET and Python. In addition, a powerful macro programming language is available, for automation tasks and stand-alone operation. Communication with a host PC is via modern interfaces, such as TCP/IP and USB. An optional joystick is available for manual operation.

Actuators with a screw and ratchet mechanism are designed with a small piezo ceramic block that performs the individual “clicks” based on the input to a controller. The advantage of this design is a very high stiffness and blocking force of up to 100N (22 lbs). Once the encoder tells the controller that a position is reached, the actuator is vibration-proof, shock-resistant, and long-term stable, with no position drift or jitter.


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