Motion Control – Evolving Nanopositioning Systems

Nanopositioning systems work in the nanometer and sub-nanometer scales, moving and arranging stages and samples with incredible precision (motion control). They can position within tens of nanometers, and potentially single-digit nanometers, making them ideal for applications that require extremely precise measurement, such as space telescopes and microscopes. And the scope of nanopositioning systems’ capabilities goes beyond that.

Comprised of various components—depending on the application—nanopositioning systems can be used as part of an integrated approach to motion control and they’re used for more than just nanometer resolution.

Nanopositioning system components often feature linear motor stages, air bearing stages, voice-coil drives, and magnetic levitation systems. All have become standard for providing repeatable nanometer step resolution, and are able to overcome challenges such as friction, lag times, and instability, which are common with conventional motorized positioners. The combination of piezo actuators, flexures, and position sensors in conjunction with closed-loop feedback control, can significantly improve stability, resolution, and repeatability of nanopositioning systems for motion control.

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