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Low-Voltage Piezoelectric Chips with Through Holes, 1.8 µm to 3.0 µm Travel
Bare Electrode (2 Places),
75 mm Wires,
Central Ø2 mm
Top View of the PA4FEH3
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Three-Dimensional Cross Section of Multilayer Piezo with Interdigitated Electrodes (Item # PA4FEH3 Shown); Dashed Lines Indicate Cutaway
Thorlabs' piezoelectric actuators with a central through hole consist of stacked piezoelectric ceramic layers with interdigitated electrodes, as pictured in the diagram to the right. The multilayer design enables high resonant frequencies and sub-millisecond response times, while the use of interdigitated electrodes minimizes the drive voltage range. The central through hole is ideal for laser tuning and micro-dispensing applications. They are available with a drive voltage range of
These compact piezoelectric chips can be easily integrated into systems for precision movement and provide maximum free stroke displacements from 1.8 µm to 3.0 µm. Through a precision grinding process, the accuracy of the design height is ensured to better than ±5 µm. This high accuracy makes it significantly easier to design devices around our piezoelectric chips.
The maximum displacement of these actuators is achieved when they are preloaded with the maximum displacement load, which is specified for each product. The actual value of the maximum displacement varies for each item and must be experimentally determined; however, the maximum displacement will always be larger than the free stroke displacement. Please note that when mounting a load onto the piezoelectric chip, the force should be directed along the actuator's axis of displacement. For more details see the Operation tab.
Each chip has an insulating ceramic layer on four exterior sides and along the interior through hole, which offers better protection against moisture than common epoxy-coated designs. The remaining two sides have screen-printed silver electrodes,to which the drive voltage is applied. For convenience, they are available with pre-attached 75 mm wires.
Piezo chips with custom dimensions, voltage ranges, and coatings are available. Additionally, customers can order these piezo chips in high-volume quantities. Please contact Tech Support for more information.
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Dicing the PZT Block into Individual Elements
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Chips After Binder Burnout and Sintering
Thorlabs' In-House Piezoelectric Manufacturing
Our piezoelectric chips are fabricated in our production facility in China, giving us full control over each step of the manufacturing process. This allows us to economically produce high-quality products, including custom and OEM devices. A glimpse into the fabrication of our piezoelectric chips follows. For more information about our manufacturing process and capabilities, please see our Piezoelectric Capabilities page.
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Schematic of PA4FEH3 Piezo Chip
Caution: after driving, the piezo is fully charged. Directly connecting the positive and negative electrodes has the risk of electricity discharging, spark, and even failure. We recommend using a resistor (>1 kΩ) between the electrodes to release the charge.
Soldering Wire Leads to the Electrodes
Interfacing a Piezoelectric Element with a Load
Operating Under High-Frequency Dynamic Conditions
Estimating the Resonant Frequency for a Given Applied Load
Quick changes in the applied voltage result in fast dimensional changes to the piezoelectric chip. The magnitude of the applied voltage determines the nominal extension of the chip. Assuming the driving voltage signal resembles a step function, the minimum time, Tmin, required for the length of the actuator to transition between its initial and final values is approximately 1/3 the period of resonant frequency. If there is no load applied to the piezoelectric actuator, its resonant frequency is ƒo and its minimum response time is:
After reaching this nominal extension, there will follow a damped oscillation in the length of the actuator around this position. Controls can be implemented to mitigate this oscillation, but doing so may slow the response of the actuator.
Applying a load to the actuator will reduce the resonant frequency of the piezoelectric chip. Given the unloaded resonant frequency of the actuator, the mass of the chip, m, and the mass of the load, M, the loaded resonant frequency (ƒo') may be estimated:
Estimating Device Lifetime for DC Drive Voltage Conditions
A ceramic moisture-barrier layer that insulates Thorlabs' piezoelectric devices on four sides is effective in minimizing the effects of humidity on device lifetime. As there is interest in estimating the lifetime of piezoelectric devices, Thorlabs conducted environmental testing on our ceramic-insulated, low-voltage, piezoelectric actuators. The resulting data were used to create a simple model that estimates the mean time to failure (MTTF), in hours, when the operating conditions of humidity, temperature, and applied voltage are known. The estimated MTTF is calculated by multiplying together three factors that correspond, respectively, to the operational temperature, relative humidity, and fractional voltage of the device. The fractional voltage is calculated by dividing the operational voltage by the maximum specified drive voltage for the device. The factors for each parameter can be read from the following plots, or they may be calculated by downloading the plotted data values and interpolating as appropriate.
In the following trio of plots, the solid-line segment of each curve represents the range of conditions over which Thorlabs performed testing. These are the conditions observed to be of most relevance to our customers. The dotted-line extensions to the solid-line segments represent extrapolated data and represent a wider range of conditions that may be encountered while operating the devices.
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For an Excel file containing these fH vs. relative humidity data, please click here.
The data used to generate these temperature, voltage, and humidity factor plots resulted from the analysis of measurements obtained from testing devices under six different operational conditions. Different dedicated sets of ten devices were tested under each condition, with each condition representing a different combination of operational voltage, device temperature, and relative humidity. After devices exhibit leakage current levels above a threshold of 100 nA, they are registered as having failed. The individual contributions of temperature, humidity, and voltage to the lifetime are determined by assuming:
where A1, A2, A3, b1, b2, and c are constants determined through analysis of the measurement data, V is the DC operational voltage, T is the device temperature, and H is the relative humidity. Because the MTTF has a different mathematical relationship with each factor, the dependence of the MTTF on each factor alone may be determined. These are the data plotted above. The regions of the above curves marked by the blue shading are derived from experimental data. The dotted regions of the curves are extrapolated.
Lifetime testing of these devices continues, and additional data will be published here as they become available. To assist in temperature control, please see our selection of thermoelectric coolers. Temperature and humidity can be monitored using our USB Temperature and Humidity Logger.