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Technology

Technology

Since 2005 SmarAct develops, produces and distributes piezo-based high performance micro- and nanopositioners, advanced control systems and micro-tools. SmarAct also offers complete miniaturized manipulation systems as well as a professional service. The compact positioning systems combine sub-nm resolution with a high straightness and travel ranges up to 1.5 m.

SmarAct has a broad background in several scientific fields with employees specialized in physics, material science, mechanical engineering, optics engineering, electrical engineering, computer science and bio-material science. The team covers the whole chain from research and development over production to distribution and service.

SmarAct is able to react fast to almost any customers’ demands, when it comes to customization and complexity.

Positioners

  • Extreme Miniaturization
    The SLC-1720-S with a size of 22 x 17 x 8.5 mm3 is the world’s smallest closed-loop nano positioner with macroscopic travel.
  • All-Inclusive Positioner
    Each positioner consists of a high quality guideway, a SmarAct drive and an optional high-resolution sensor.
  • Optimized Straight Motion
    SmarAct drives are optimized to translate the maximum of the power into motion along the direction of the guideway. Wobbling, lateral motions, yaw, pitch and roll are kept at a minimum required for real nanopositioning.
  • Backlash-Free
    Since the movable part of the positioner is permanently connected to the drive by a friction contact there is no backlash.
  • Self-Clamping
    Even with switched off controllers, SmarAct drives hold the position with an accuracy down to a few nm.
  • Vacuum Compatibility
    All positioning systems can be prepared for vacuum applications down to 10-11 mbar.
  • Low Thermal Drift, High Resonance Frequencies
    Due to the high level of miniaturization, a sophisticated design, an optimized material combination as well as optimized control modes, low thermal drift and high resonance frequencies are achieved, thus, fulfilling two basic requirements for nanopositioning tasks.
  • Large Travel Range with Nanometer Resolution
    SmarAct standard positioners provide large travel ranges of up to hundreds of mm – with sub-nanometer resolution of motion.
  • Robust Design
    Moving to mechanical end-stops, obstacles or moving the slide of the positioner by hand does not damage the positioner.
  • Versatility
    All positioners can be applied in any orientation.
  • High Resolution and Accuracy
    SmarAct standard positioners provide sub-nanometer openloop positioning resolution and about 1 nm closed-loop positioning resolution.
  • High Dynamic Velocity Range
    The velocity of the positioners range from nm/s to several cm/s.
  • Cost-Effective
    You are able to create very cost-effective solutions based on SmarAct’s positioning systems and expertise.
  • Future-Proof / Modular
    Consequent modularity and various options for the manipulators and controllers allow to build custom-specific solutions and ensure upgradability.

Our product range includes several positioner lines, covering most microand nanopositioning tasks.

  • SLC-Series
    The SLC-Series covers linear positioners with crossed-roller slides, including the SLC-17 and SLC-24 lines.
  • SL-Series
    The SL-Series covers linear positioners with ball slides, including the ultra-compact SL-06 positioner.
  • SHL-Series
    Based on the SLC series, the SHL is designed for heavy loads up to a few kg.
  • SR-Series
    The SR-Series covers all rotary positioners.
  • SGO-Series
    The SGO-Series covers high precision goniometers with crossed roller slides.
  • SmarPod-Series
    Based on our positioners we offer a series of high precision parallel kinematic systems with 6 degrees of freedom and for a wide range of applications (vertical load from 500 g to 2 kg, travel range from a few mm to one meter).
  • Opto-Mechanics
    Opto-mechanic motion systems such as motorized filter wheels, motorized mirror mounts, optical slits and motorized iris diaphragms are available within SmarAct‘s product range.

Service

  • Customization
    Positioners, manipulators and controllers can be customized to non-standard requirements. If you need a positioner with a certain travel range, size or guideway or if you need a special controller, please contact us and we will find a solution.
  • Complete Systems
    Based on our positioners we offer simple and complex kinematics, such as micro-assembling stations, microscope stages, fiber alignment systems and many more. Every systems can be tailored to your requirements.
  • Complete Positioning Solutions
    SmarAct delivers assembled micro- and nano positioning solutions with positioners, end-effectors, controllers and vacuum feedthroughs.
  • Complete Application Development
    On demand SmarAct supports the development of complete applications, based on customer specifications. This includes mechanics, electronics as well as application processes.

Besides this, we are at your disposal for any questions and projects you may have.

Controllers

  • Plug-and-Position
    The micro- and nanopositioning systems are ready-to-use. Once you connect the motion system to the controller and power it up, you are ready for high-end micro- and nanopositioning.
  • Compact Controllers
    SmarAct controllers are compact, even if equipped with many channels. Furthermore, all of SmarAct‘s controllers are available with table-top housings as well as very compact single board solutions for OEM customers up to 19″ rack mounted multi-channel control systems.

Driving Principle

All positioners from SmarAct are available with a patented Stick-Slip drive, enabling macroscopic travel with high velocities. With this technique our positioners can move with sub-nanometer resolution. The basic principle is explained below

 

I

A piezo actuator is attached to the slide of the guideway or bearing by a friction element. The piezo actuator itself is fixed at a stationary component.

II

The piezo actuator is changing its length proportional to the applied voltage. As long as the friction element is not accelerated too fast, the slide will follow the movement of the friction element and thus experiencing the same acceleration. This phase is called stick-phase.

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III

The friction element is accelerated very fast. The inertial force of the accelerated mass of the slide is higher than the friction force. The friction element slips over the surface of the slide. As a result, the friction element is changing its position, while the slide stays in its position. This phase is called slip-phase.

By repeating that sequence macroscopic travel of the slide can be achieved. This mode is called step mode.

IV

During the stick-phase the slide can be moved by slowly elongating the piezo actuator with sub-nanometer resolution. This mode is called scan mode.

Vacuum Compatibility

SmarAct positioners are not only designed for normal ambient conditions. Most of our positioners can be prepared to work in a high vacuum (HV, down to 10-6 mbar) or ultra-high vacuum (UHV, down to 10-11 mbar) environment.

We deliver complete systems containing the feedthroughs, plugs and complete cabling. Different flange sizes and feedthroughs are available upon request.

Sensor Options

If your application requires closed-loop positioning, optical encoders can be integrated into our positioners for feedback. With integrated sensors you can perform closed-loop operations such as defining the desired travel distance, the target position or the speed. We are offering different types of position measurement sensors. These sensors are available for microscopic resolutions (-I) and nanoscopic resolutions (-L, -S, -SC) down to sub nanoscopic resolutions (PicoScale). Integrating -I, -L, -S and -SC sensors into our positioners has no effect on their outer dimensions.

Our optical linear -S/-SC nanosensor has a resolution of about 1 nm and an absolute accuracy of 1 µm/m. The rotary counterpart has a resolution of about 10 µ° depending on the diameter of the rotary positioner. Positioners with an integrated -S/-SC sensor must be connected to an MCS or SDC/SDC2 control system. The controller can then use the sensor values for closed-loop position control. The optical linear -Lsensor, which can be connected to all SCU, MCS and SDC/SDC2 controllers, offers a resolution of 4 nm (depending on the controller).

Alternatively, most of the SmarAct positioners can be equipped with -I sensor. These sensor types have a resolution of about 0.1 µm for the optical version, 0.3 µm for the inductive version and an absolute accuracy of about 10 µm/m (optical) or 25 µm/m (inductive). The optical rotary sensor has a resolution of about 10 m°. Positioners with an integrated, optical microsensor can be connected to an HCU-3CM, CU-3CM, MCS or SDC/SDC2 controller, for closed-loop position control. Our inductive microsensor can be controlled with one of our EMS controllers.

To order a positioner with integrated sensor please add “-I”, “-S”, “-SC” or “-L” to the order code of the positioner (e.g. SLC-1730-S, SLC-2445-I).

Terms and Definitions

  • Movement Resolution
    The resolution of movement is the smallest position increment that can be effectively achieved with the positioner.
  • Closed-Loop Resolution
    Closed-loop positioning resolution is the smallest executable position increment when positioning with sensor feedback.
  • Repeatability
    The repeatability (bidirectional) is the accuracy, the position can be approached again within the movement range of the positioner after any position change. Since the positioning goal is given with respect to the sensor system the repeatability is in the same order of magnitude as the closed-loop positioning resolution. Please note that the repeatability also depends on the thermal and mechanical conditions.
  • Accuracy
    The absolute accuracy of a position sensor is the maximum difference between the target position and achieved position. This difference is caused by nonlinear behaviour of the actuator and sensor scale and by the alignment error of the sensor scale in relation to the axis of movement. The absolute accuracy also depends on the thermal and mechanical conditions.
  • Angular Deviations
    Due to the imperfectness of the guideway a movement along the travel causes a deviation from the pure linear movement in roll (fR) pitch (fP) and yaw (fY)
  • Max. Load and Torque
    FN is the maximum force that can be applied perpendicularly to the center of the slide without damaging it. Please note that for an accurate and smooth rolling the maximum load should not exceed 2 kg (higher loads on request).
    FB is the blocking force of a linear positioner, wich is the maximum force an actuator can generate if infinitely rigid restrained.
    FL is the maximum weight which can be applied to a vertical orientated positioner.
    MP, MY and MR are the maximum torques which can be applied to the positioner without damaging it.
  • Wobble
    Similar to the angular deviations for a linear movement, wobble is the tilt of the axis of rotation relative to the ideal axis. It results in a cyclic tilting of the rotating surface during each revolution.
  • Eccentricity
    Eccentricity is the radial (perpendicular to the axis of rotation) deviation of the center of rotation from its mean position after rotating through one full revolution. It is also known as radial runout. A perfectly centered stage with perfect bearings would have no eccentricity.
  • Max. Load and Torque
    MB is the maximum (blocking) torque the rotation stage can generate.
    MR/FR is the maximum torque/force one can apply perpendicular to the rotation axis of the positioner without damaging it.
    FN is the maximum nominal force the positioner can tolerate.