- Home HomePI offers solutions in the field of motion and positioning. With long term experience, in-depth knowledge and a passion for technology, our experts develop customer and application-specific products. By creating bright ideas together, our customers get the most advanced drive technologies and system solutions.
- ProductsProductsPI is a worldwide leading supplier of solutions in the fields of motion and positioning. PI does not only develop and produce a broad range of positioning stages and actuators for linear, rotary and vertical motion or combinations of different axes. PI also adapts those solutions to customer-specific applications or supplies finished subsystems for motion and positioning.
- New Products New Products
- Product Finder Product Finder
- Customized Products Customized Products
- Nanopositioning Piezo Flexure Stages Nanopositioning Piezo Flexure Stages
- Multi-Axis Piezo Flexure Stages Multi-Axis Piezo Flexure Stages
- PIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for Microscopy PIFOC® Objective & PInano® Sample Scanners for Microscopy
- Linear Piezo Flexure Stages Linear Piezo Flexure Stages
- XY Piezo Flexure Stages XY Piezo Flexure Stages
- Piezo Flexure Tilting Mirrors Piezo Flexure Tilting Mirrors
- Multi-Axis Piezo Flexure Stages
- Miniature Stages Miniature Stages
- Miniature Linear Stages Miniature Linear Stages
- Miniature Rotation Stages Miniature Rotation Stages
- Miniature Hexapods Miniature Hexapods
- Miniature Linear Stages
- Linear Stages Linear Stages
- Stages with PIMag® Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor Stages with PIMag® Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor
- Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors
- Vertical Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors Vertical Stages with Stepper, DC & Brushless DC (BLDC) Motors
- Miniature Linear Stages Miniature Linear Stages
- Stages with PIMag® Magnetic Direct-Drive Linear Motor
- Linear Actuators Linear Actuators
- PiezoMike for Long-Term Stability PiezoMike for Long-Term Stability
- Linear Actuators with Stepper & DC Servo Motors Linear Actuators with Stepper & DC Servo Motors
- PIMag® VC Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control Option PIMag® VC Voice Coil Actuators with High Dynamics & Force Control Option
- PiezoMove Lever Actuators PiezoMove Lever Actuators
- Nanopositioning Piezo Actuators Nanopositioning Piezo Actuators
- PiezoWalk® Actuators with High Force & Stability PiezoWalk® Actuators with High Force & Stability
- PiezoMike for Long-Term Stability
- Rotation Stages Rotation Stages
- XY Stages XY Stages
- Hexapods Hexapods
- Engineered Systems Engineered Systems
- Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment Fast Multi-Channel Photonics Alignment Systems
- Piezoelectric Transducers & Actuators Piezoelectric Transducers & Actuators
- Air Bearings & Stages Air Bearings & Stages
- Controllers & Drivers Controllers & Drivers
- Nanopositioning Piezo Controllers Nanopositioning Piezo Controllers
- Piezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo Actuators Piezo Drivers for Open-Loop Operation of Piezo Actuators
- Motion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo Motors Motion Controllers & Drivers for Linear, Torque, Stepper & DC Servo Motors
- Controllers & Drivers for Piezomotors Controllers & Drivers for Piezomotors
- Controller Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive Types Controller Systems for Multiple Axes & Mixed Drive Types
- Hexapod Motion Controllers Hexapod Motion Controllers
- ACS Motion Control ACS Motion Control for Industrial Applications
- Nanopositioning Piezo Controllers
- Sensors, Components & Accessories Sensors, Components & Accessories
- OEMOEMCustomer- and application-specific product developments form the basis for success at PI. To this purpose, requirements have to be understood and a technological solution has to be found.
- ApplicationsApplications & MarketsPI positioning systems are employed where technology is pushed forward in industry and research. This is done, for example, in semiconductor manufacturing, in medical engineering, in biotechnology, in plant engineering, in surface metrology, or in astronomy.
- Hexapods Support Industrial Robots Hexapods Support Industrial RobotsBecause the need for multi-axis and also precision robots in production and quality processes is on the increase, industry is looking out for new types of robotics. PI offers parallel-kinematic hexapods for these tasks.
- Scientific Instrumentation Scientific InstrumentationThe term "scientific instrumentation" covers a variety of different applications, starting with microscopy via beamline processes through to the wide field of laboratory automation.
- Hexapod Systems for ALMA Hexapod Systems for ALMA
- Double-Crystal Monochromator Double-Crystal Monochromator for an X-Ray Spectrometer
- Materials Research in High Vacuum Materials Research in High Vacuum
- Active Vibration Isolation with Piezo Actuators Active Vibration Isolation with Piezo Actuators
- Drive Technology for the ELT Drive Technology for the ELT
- Hexapod Systems for ALMA
- Semiconductor Technology Semiconductor TechnologyLithographic processes are the reason why chips are getting smaller and smaller and why extremely fine structures can be realized on silicon wafers. Piezo drives have made these technical advances possible with their performance and reliability.
- Microscopy MicroscopyImaging processes increase efficiency across a number of fields, ranging from medical engineering to pharmaceutical research and manufacturing of semiconductors.
- Atomic Force Microscopy AFM Scanner for Atomic Force Microscopy
- High-Speed Microscopy High-Speed Microscopy for Quality Control
- White light interferometry 3-D Surface Inspection With Piezo-Based Positioning Systems from PI
- Atomic Force Microscopy
- Silicon Photonics Silicon PhotonicsSilicon photonics allows data rates into the Tbit/s range and is therefore suitable for computer-aided services that require the highest possible transmission speeds.
- Photonics Packaging Automated Photonics Packaging
- Optical Fiber Alignment Simultaneous Testing of Optical Components in Silicon Photonics
- Photonics Packaging
- Medical Technology Medical TechnologyProgress in pharmaceutical research, diagnostics, and therapy requires high-performance and precise position systems. In addition to high positioning precision, requirements for the drives often include compact dimensions, low energy consumption, speed, and high reliability.
- Endoscopy Chip-on-the-Tip Video Endoscopes with Miniature Drives
- Ophthalmology High-Precision Drives in Ophthalmic Surgery
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Nonsensitive Drives for Magnetic Resonance Therapy
- Optical Coherence Tomography Piezo Technology and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
- Pipetting Piezomotors for Pipetting and Nanodispensing
- Precision Dosing Dynamic Drives for Precision Dosing with Nanodispensers
- Micropumps Piezoelectric Micropumps – Compact Design and High Performance
- Image Stabilization Image Stabilization and Microscanning with Piezo Scanners
- Confocal Microscopy Adjustment of the Focal Planes in Confocal Microscopy
- Adaptive Diaphragm Positioning Adaptive Diaphragm Positioning
- Materials Research Materials ResearchEfficiency has become an important buzzword these days. Materials research has paid a major contribution as the results have, for example, optimized processing methods. Methods such as X-rays and lasers or white light interferometry demand precise positioning of the specimens to be examined and of optics or beam control.
- Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research High-Load Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research
- Laser Beam Control Piezo Drives for Laser Beam Control
- Parallel Kinematics for Materials Research
- Mechanical Engineering Mechanical EngineeringMechanical engineering and manufacturing technology require fast, reliable and energy-saving drive components. The spectrum ranges from piezo actuators to six-axis parallel kinematics which can communicate directly with CNC controls.
- Electrical Discharge Machining Piezo Actuators Accelerate Electrical Discharge Machining
- Hexapods in Mechanical Engineering Hexapods in Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical Discharge Machining
- Automation AutomationPiezo drives, magnetic direct drives, and hexapods are part and parcel of automation today. They operate precisely and reliably and have proven themselves under rugged conditions.
- Smarter Motion Positioning Smarter Motion Positioning
- Hexapods in Microproduction Hexapods in Microproduction
- Hexapods for Quality Assurance Hexapods for Quality Assurance
- Magnetic Direct Drives Magnetic Direct Drives
- Motion Simulation with Hexapods Motion Simulation with Hexapods
- Flexibility in Dimensional Measuring Hexapod Systems in Automation
- Motion Compensation with Hexapods Motion Compensation with HexapodsDynamic hexapods with piezo drives: Best conditions for motion compensation.
- Fast Piezo Ultrasonic Drives Advance Technology Fast Piezo Ultrasonic Drives Advance Technology
- Smarter Motion Positioning
- Beamline Instrumentation Beamline InstrumentationScientific experiments pose their own challenges, and beamline X-ray experiments are even more special in themselves. However, the need for precision equipment is universal.
- Tomography Equipment Tomography Equipment
- Synchrotron Spectroscopy in Vacuum Synchrotron Spectroscopy in Vacuum
- Beam Preparation Beam Preparation
- Sample Positioning for Tomography Sample Positioning for Tomography
- Microscopy Microscopy
- Accelerator Technology Accelerator Technology
- Tomography Equipment
- Additive Manufacturing Additive ManufacturingDue to their high dynamics and pushing forces piezo actuators are highly suitable for the use in machines for additive manufacturing.
- TechnologyKnow-How & TechnologyPI combines its long-term experience in micro and nanopositioning technology with in-depth knowledge in the fields of mechanics, electronics, sensor engineering, and software. Thus, PI is able to offer its customers the most advanced drive technologies and system solutions.
- Piezo Technology Piezo TechnologyPI Ceramic offers a wealth of experience in the manufacturing of piezoceramic materials, components, and actuators. The piezoceramic materials can be adapted individually to perfectly fit the later use of the piezo components.
- Fundamentals of Piezo Technology Fundamentals of Piezo TechnologyPhysical basics and explanations of piezo electricity and electromechanics.
- Properties of Piezo Actuators Properties of Piezo Actuators
- Piezoceramic Materials Piezoceramic MaterialsPI Ceramic offers a variety of different piezoelectric materials including lead-free materials.
- Manufacturing Technology Manufacturing Technology
- PICMA® Technology PICMA® Technology
- Integrated Piezo Actuators Integrated Piezo Actuators
- DuraAct Patch Transducer Technology DuraAct Patch Transducer Technology
- PIRest Actuators PIRest ActuatorsActive shims with long-term stability and nanometer resolution.
- Fundamentals of Piezo Technology
- Piezoelectric Drives Piezoelectric DrivesDepending on the configuration and control, piezoceramic actuators can be used to create translational motions or as motors with a virtually unlimited travel range. The choice of drive depends on the requirements of the application.
- Piezo Actuators Piezo Actuators with and without Guiding
- PiezoWalk® Walking Drives PiezoWalk® Walking Drives
- PILine® Ultrasonic Piezomotors PILine® Ultrasonic Piezomotors
- Piezo Inertia Drives Piezo Inertia Drives
- PiezoMike Linear Actuators PiezoMike Linear Actuators
- Comparison: Piezo Motors & Drive Technologies Comparison: Piezo Motors & Drive Technologies
- Piezo Actuators
- Electromagnetic Drives Electromagnetic DrivesRotating electric motors such as DC or stepper motors are used in connection with screw or worm drives. Stepper motor systems with high-resolution encoders can perform minimum incremental motions of 10 nm with high reliability and repeatability.
- Rotating Electric Motors Rotating Electric Motors from PI
- PIMag® Magnetic Direct Drives PIMag® Magnetic Direct Drives
- PIMag® 6-D Magnetic Levitation PIMag® 6-D Magnetic Levitation at Six Levels of Freedom
- Hybrid Concept Piezo & Motor Hybrid Concept
- Rotating Electric Motors
- Parallel Kinematics Parallel KinematicsIn a parallel-kinematic, multi-axis system, all actuators act directly on a single moving platform. This means that all axes can be designed with identical dynamic properties, thus reducing the moved mass considerably. Hexapods are used for moving and precision positioning, aligning and displacing loads in all six degrees of freedom, i.e., three linear and three rotational axes.
- Parallel Kinematics Piezo Positioning Systems with Parallel KinematicsIn a parallel-kinematic, multi-axis system, all actuators act directly on a single moving platform.
- Multi-Axis Positioners Multi-Axis Positioners and Stewart Platforms
- Hexapod as Motion Simulator Hexapod as Motion SimulatorMotion simulators have higher motion dynamics requirements (shakers).
- Software for Hexapods Hexapod 6-Axis Motion Controller and Software
- Parallel Kinematics
- Sensor Technologies Sensor TechnologiesThe linearity and repeatability achieved are not possible without highest-resolution measuring devices. Accuracies in the range of a few nanometers and below require a position measurement method that can also detect motion in this range.
- Capacitive Sensors Capacitance Nanosensors
- Incremental Sensors Linear Scale Encoders for Nanometrology & Nanopositioning
- PIOne Optical Nanometrology Encoder PIOne Optical Nanometrology Encoder
- Comparison: Position Sensor Technologies Comparison: Nanopositioning Sensor Technologies
- Capacitive Sensors
- Controllers & Software Controllers & SoftwareFast settling or extremely smooth low speed motion, high positional stability, high resolution and high dynamics – the requirements placed on piezo systems vary greatly and need drivers and controllers with a high degree of flexibility.
- Digital & Analog Interfaces Digital & Analog Interfaces
- EtherCAT Connectivity of PI Products EtherCAT Connectivity of PI Products
- Control of Piezo Actuators Piezo Controllers & Drivers for Nanopositioning Systems
- Digital Motion Controllers Digital Motion Controllers
- Software Motion Control Software from PI
- Digital & Analog Interfaces
- Guiding Systems & Force Transmission Guiding Systems & Force TransmissionFlexure joints, mechanical guide components or magnetic bearings? Which kind of guiding system PI uses in its products depends on parameters such as travel range, required precision, load, lifetime, and ambient conditions.
- Classical Guiding Systems Comparison: Classical Guiding Systems and Force Transmission
- Flexure Guiding Systems Flexure Guiding Systems for Nanopositioning & Piezo Actuators
- Magnetic Bearings Magnetic Levitation & Precision Bearings for NanopositioningMagnetic levitation allows excellent guiding accuracy in a plane, both linear and rotational.
- PIglide Air Bearing Technology PIglide Air Bearing TechnologyMulti-axis motion with nanometer precision and without friction.
- Classical Guiding Systems
- Vacuum Vacuum Compatible Linear & Rotary Stages, UHV PositionersCareful handling, adequate premises: PI does not only have the necessary equipment for the qualification of materials, components and final products, but also has many years of experience with regard to HV und UHV positioning systems.
- Glossary PI Glossary for Technical TermsFind useful explanations of technical terms in the PI Glossary.
- BlogBlogLearn from our experts in the field of motion and positioning, who share their knowledge and their passion for technology.
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- About PIAbout PIPI stands for technical excellence and continuous advance in precision positioning – driven by the passion for technology and its use in customer applications. The target of the PI Group is to develop this market and technological leadership even further and therefore secure a decisive competitive advantage for its customers.
- Technology Center Technology CenterThe technology center provides space not only for offices but also for application labs, metrology labs, and cleanrooms for vacuum or cryogenic chambers.
- Fractal Manufacturing Structure at PI Fractal Manufacturing Structure at PIPI manufactures in autonomous organization fractals. Each unit is responsible for its own product line, has all the necessary skills and production equipment.
- Metrology MetrologyPI qualifies its products with external measuring equipment. These are calibrated in part and traceable to a national standard. Using the PIOne incremental encoder and capacitive sensors, PI manufactures own metrology for inclusion in PI products.
- Manufacturing in Cleanrooms at PI Manufacturing in Cleanrooms at PIPI has the capability to manufacture and qualify products under cleanroom conditions, which is extended and improved continually according to market needs.
- Heavy Load Hall Heavy Duty Hall for Positioning Systems Weighing Several TonsThe product range from a two-ton hexapod to a ten-gram nanopositioner requires that PI can both manufacture and qualify these systems. For this reason, PI operates a heavy duty hall at its location in Karlsruhe for the assembly and measurement of masses up to five tons.
- Certified Quality Certified QualityPI aims to apply the same high quality, safety and environmental protection standards worldwide. The Integrated Management System reflects this commitment.
- The PI Group The PI GroupPI stands for technical excellence and continuous advance in precision positioning – driven by the passion for technology and its use in customer applications.
- About PI miCos PI miCos GmbH, GermanyAs a member of the PI Group, PI miCos makes a strong contribution in the field engineered systems and is the center of expertise for positioning systems with magnetic drives.
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The voltage-dependent displacement curves of piezo actuators have a strongly nonlinear course that is subject to hysteresis due to the extrinsic domain contributions. It is therefore not possible to interpolate linearly from the nominal displacement to intermediate positions with a particular driving voltage. The electromechanical and dielectric large-signal curves of piezo ceramics illustrate the characteristics (fig. 1). The origin of each graph is defined by the respective thermally depolarized condition.
The shape of both bipolar large-signal curves is determined by the ferroelectric polarity reversal process when the coercive field strength EC is achieved in the opposing field. The dielectric curve shows very large polarization changes at these reversal points. At the same time, the contraction of the ceramic after reversing the polarity turns into expansion again, since the polarization and the field strength have the same orientation once more. This property gives the electromechanical curve its characteristic butterfly shape. Without the electric field, the remnant polarizations Prem/-Prem and the remnant strain Srem remain.
Piezo actuators are usually driven unipolarly. A semibipolar operation increases the strain amplitude while causing a stronger nonlinearity and hysteresis, which result from the increasing extrinsic domain portions of the displacement signal (fig. 2).
In the datasheets, the free displacements of the actuators are given at nominal voltage.
S Mechanical strain E Electric field strength
Standard Layer Heights
The free displacement of the components that can actually be attained depends on further factors such as the mechanical preload, the temperature, the control frequency, the dimensions, and the amount of passive material.
Piezoelectric Deformation Coefficient (Piezo Modulus)
The gradient ΔS/ΔE between the two reversal points of the nonlinear hysteresis curves is defined as the piezoelectric large-signal deformation coefficients d(GS) (fig. 2). As the progressive course of the curves shows, these coefficients normally increase along with the field amplitude (fig. 3).
Estimation of the Expected Displacement
The values from fig. 3 can be used to estimate the attainable displacement at a particular piezo voltage (see equations for estimating the >> Displacement of Piezo Actuators). The field strength can be calculated from the layer heights of the specific component and the drive voltage VPP.
In open-loop, voltage-controlled operation, the displacement curves of piezo actuators show a strong hysteresis (fig. 5), which usually rises with an increasing voltage or field strength. Especially high values result for shear actuators or with bipolar control. The reason for these values is the increasing involvement of extrinsic polarity reversal processes in the overall signal.
t Time [s] ΔL(t) Displacement as a function of time [m] ΔLt=0.1s Displacement at 0.1 seconds after the end of the change in stress [m] γ Creep factor, dependent on the material properties (approximately 0.01 to 0.02, corresponds to between 1 % and 2 % per time decade)
Hysteresis and creep of piezo actuators can be eliminated most effectively through position control in a closed servo loop. To build position-controlled systems, the PI Ceramic piezo actuators of the PICA Stack and PICA Power product line can be optionally offered with applied strain gauges. In applications with purely dynamic control, hysteresis can be effectively reduced to values of 1 to 2 % even without closed-loop control by using a charge-control amplifier.
PI (Physik Instrumente GmbH) offers a wide range of position-controlled piezo systems with capacitive sensors or strain gauge sensors. When the actuator and sensor are combined with suitable guiding mechanics, a low-noise amplifier and corresponding control algorithms, these systems achieve positioning accuracies in the subnanometer range.
Catalog: Piezoelectric ActuatorsComponents, Technologies, OperationCAT128CAT128
Catalog: PI Piezoelectric Ceramic ProductsFundamentals, Characteristics and ApplicationsCAT125CAT125