Choosing The Right Nanopositioning Device

Nanopositioning is the positioning of an object on the scale of one-billionth of a meter. This is a necessary requirement for a broad range of applications, including scanning, dispensing, pumping, medical, and semiconductor applications. Nanopositioning is accomplished through a variety of means. One of the most common methods is to use a piezo actuator. However, there are many other methods that can be used for nanopositioning.

Piezo Motor

The upside of piezo motors is that they use a reverse piezoelectric effect. This places stress, which creates a motion in the form of an expansion or contraction. They are capable of high speed and force despite being a relatively small size. However, there are some applications where nanopositioning does not fit and other approaches are necessary.

Linear Motor

Sometimes, the piezo motor simply does not generate enough force. Then, it is necessary to use a linear motor instead. The linear motor is a non-contact device. As a result, it does not experience the friction that other devices can experience. The amount of force that the linear motor is able to generate is based on whether the motor uses an iron core. If it does not use an iron core, it will have a lower mass and faster acceleration but will not generate as much force. Another factor to determine is the type of bearings that the motor will use. When the motor uses traditional bearings, these are subject to wear and tear. However, when air bearings are used, there is no friction and no risk of wear and tear.

Voice Coils

Voice coils are ideal for when you need both force and torque control. When a current is applied to a coil, this leads to a motor traveling in one direction. The amount of force that is generated is directly proportional to the amount of current that is applied, which gives more control to the application. Also, when the current is reversed, the direction of the actuator also changes. One of the advantages of voice coils over linear motors is that they do not become clogged and can therefore have a very smooth operation. However, you do not have as much flexibility with the stoke length. They are best for situations where it is necessary to have high-frequency oscillating movements. If you are unsure whether this application or any other should be chosen, make sure to contact a nanopositioning company to inquire about the perfect product for your business.