Linear piezo nanopositioners for microscopy and optics alignment

August 18, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Aerotech’s QNP-L series linear piezo nanopositioning stages give nanometer-level performance in a compact, high-stiffness package. A variety of travel and feedback options make these stages ideal for applications ranging from microscopy to optics alignment.

They can deliver controlled movement from 100 µm to 600 µm (0.1 to 0.6 mm), with long device lifetime, a high-precision, frictionless flexure guidance system and with positioning resolution and linearity to 0.007% with direct-metrology capacitive sensor options.

The QNP-L linear piezo stages are guided by precision flexures optimised using finite element analysis to ensure high-stiffness and long life. This design offers best-in-class stiffness and resonant frequency for high process throughput and fast closed-loop response. The design also provides unparalleled geometric performance (straightness and angular errors) while minimising overall stage package size.

All QNP-L piezo stages offer closed-loop feedback using a capacitive sensor design that yields sub-nanometer positioning resolution and high-positioning accuracy (linearity). The capacitive sensors directly measure the output of the positioning carriage, enabling superior linearity and positioning repeatability when compared to indirect feedback metrology techniques such as strain-guage feedback.

When coupled with Aerotech's Q-series controllers and drives, QNP-L piezo nanopositioning stages demonstrate sub-nanometer positioning resolution and in-position stability (jitter), and high-positioning bandwidth. Aerotech’s Dynamic Controls Toolbox and Motion Designer software packages provide tools such as Learning Control, Harmonic Cancellation, and Command Shaping, providing improved tracking errors and faster step-and-settle times.

Automatic parameter and calibration identification is accomplished with Aerotech’s FlashConfig feature. The stage is automatically identified and all operational parameters including axis calibration data are uploaded into the controller ensuring safe, accurate, and true “plug-and-play” operation.

Aerotech’s QNP-L piezo stages are available with capacitive sensor feedback or without feedback (open-loop). An optional mounting plate provides direct mounting to English or metric breadboard optical tables. Common travels of the X, XY, and Z stages mount together without adapter plates. All QNP piezo stages are available in vacuum-prepared versions upon request.