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Vacuum-Compatible Piezoelectric Inertia Actuators
13 mm Travel Range,
Three PIAK10VF Piezo Inertia Actuators can be used
10 mm Travel Range,
Click for Details
The flying lead can be adjusted up to 110° for space-constrained applications.
Thorlabs' Vacuum-Compatible Piezoelectric Inertia Actuators provide high-resolution linear motion control with long piezo translation ranges in compact, vacuum-compatible packages. Each actuator can support loads up to 2.5 kg with typical movements of 20 nm and no backlash. The step size can be adjusted up to 30% to a maximum of 30 nm using the KIM001 or KIM101 Controllers (sold separately below). Due to the open-loop design, hysteresis, and application conditions, the achieved step size of the system can vary by up to 20%. An external feedback system will need to be used to overcome this variance. We also offer standard piezo inertia actuators for non-vacuum applications.
These actuators are self-locking when at rest and when there is no power supplied to the piezo, making them ideal for set-and-hold applications that require nanometer resolution and long-term alignment stability. Manual adjustments can be made using the knob on the adjuster screw, as long as the piezo is not actively translating the screw; the knob is also compatible with 5/64" (2.0 mm) hex keys.
Powered by 10 mm long discrete piezo stacks, these actuators operate at speeds of up to 3.5 mm/minute. The design of the piezo motor, detailed below, will rotate the tip of the lead screw during translation.
The PIA13VF actuator has a Ø3/8" (Ø9.525 mm) barrel that can be mounted in a manual stage that has a Ø3/8" mounting clamp.
Each actuator has an integrated 0.75 m flying lead, plus 1.0 m of cored cable for wiring outside the vacuum chamber. The flying leads and cored cable lengths can be cut down as needed, but the total length (inside and outside) should not exceed 2.0 m. As shown in the image above, the flying lead for each actuator can be rotated up to 110° for space-constrained applications.
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Simplified Illustration Showing the Operation of an Inertia Piezo Actuator
Piezoelectric Inertia "Slip-Stick" Motor
A piezo stack mounted perpendicular to the lead screw axis actuates the screw via a design based on the system's inertia and coefficients of friction. Two decoupled arms, or jaws, are located on either side of the piezo. These arms extend across the top and bottom of the main lead screw, as illustrated in the diagram to the left.
The piezo reacts to a custom sawtooth voltage waveform, causing it to expand or contract. The waveform is asymmetric, slowly ramping up to the specified voltage and then quickly dropping the voltage to zero on a nanosecond timescale. As shown in the bottom illustration to the left, the jaws will "stick" to the lead screw during the slow voltage ramp due to static friction, turning the screw similar to a person using their thumb and forefinger. The nanosecond voltage drop will cause the arms to "slip" due to the screws' inertia and the lower coefficient of dynamic friction, allowing the arms to return to their original position without undoing the rotation of the screw. This mechanism allows a single piezo element to translate a lead screw along its entire length.
Due to a number of factors that include the application conditions, piezo hysteresis, component variance, and the axial load, the achieved step size will vary and is not repeatable. To help overcome this variance, an external feedback system will need to be used. Alternatively, a stepper motor actuator can also be substituted depending on the application.
Thorlabs offers two platforms to drive our wide range of motion controllers: our Kinesis® software package or the legacy APT™ (Advanced Positioning Technology) software package. Either package can be used to control devices in the Kinesis family, which covers a wide range of motion controllers ranging from small, low-powered, single-channel drivers (such as the K-Cubes™ and T-Cubes™) to high-power, multi-channel, modular 19" rack nanopositioning systems (the APT Rack System).
The Kinesis Software features .NET controls which can be used by 3rd party developers working in the latest C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any .NET compatible languages to create custom applications. Low-level DLL libraries are included for applications not expected to use the .NET framework. A Central Sequence Manager supports integration and synchronization of all Thorlabs motion control hardware.
Kinesis GUI Screen
APT GUI Screen
Our legacy APT System Software platform offers ActiveX-based controls which can be used by 3rd party developers working on C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any Active-X compatible languages to create custom applications and includes a simulator mode to assist in developing custom applications without requiring hardware.
By providing these common software platforms, Thorlabs has ensured that users can easily mix and match any of the Kinesis and APT controllers in a single application, while only having to learn a single set of software tools. In this way, it is perfectly feasible to combine any of the controllers from single-axis to multi-axis systems and control all from a single, PC-based unified software interface.
The software packages allow two methods of usage: graphical user interface (GUI) utilities for direct interaction with and control of the controllers 'out of the box', and a set of programming interfaces that allow custom-integrated positioning and alignment solutions to be easily programmed in the development language of choice.
A range of video tutorials is available to help explain our APT system software. These tutorials provide an overview of the software and the APT Config utility. Additionally, a tutorial video is available to explain how to select simulator mode within the software, which allows the user to experiment with the software without a controller connected. Please select the APT Tutorials tab above to view these videos.
Thorlabs' Kinesis® software features new .NET controls which can be used by third-party developers working in the latest C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any .NET compatible languages to create custom applications.
For a collection of example projects that can be compiled and run to demonstrate the different ways in which developers can build on the Kinesis motion control libraries, click on the links below. Please note that a separate integrated development environment (IDE) (e.g., Microsoft Visual Studio) will be required to execute the Quick Start examples. The C# example projects can be executed using the included .NET controls in the Kinesis software package (see the Kinesis Software tab for details).
These videos illustrate some of the basics of using the APT System Software from both a non-programming and a programming point of view. There are videos that illustrate usage of the supplied APT utilities that allow immediate control of the APT controllers out of the box. There are also a number of videos that explain the basics of programming custom software applications using Visual Basic, LabView and Visual C++. Watch the videos now to see what we mean.
To further assist programmers, a guide to programming the APT software in LabView is also available.
These Vacuum-Compatible Piezoelectric Inertia Actuators are ideal for set-and-forget vacuum applications, particularly where space is limited. Their primary function is to set a relative position and hold; switching off power to the actuator will result in the same drift as a 1/4"-80 drive screw. The PIAK10VF actuator is designed for use with the KS1TV mirror mount and the PIA13VF actuator is designed for use with our range of small positioning stages, and each actuator provides nanometer resolution with long-term alignment stability. Manual adjustments can be made using the knob on the adjuster screw, as long as the piezo is not actively translating the screw; the knob is also compatible with 5/64" (2.0 mm) hex keys. To order vacuum-compatible versions of our stages and mirror mounts, please contact Technical Support.
The "slip-stick" nature of this device uses very short pulse widths and continuous stepping of the actuator will result in an audible noise at a typical level of 60 to 70 dB.
Note: The PIAK10VF actuator is not compatible with Polaris® mounts that use 1/4"-100 adjusters. These mounts require a specific actuator ball size and tip design to ensure that the ball contact is centered on the sapphire end stone and that there is proper screw clearance during full translation. In the case of the PIAK10VF actuator, the side of the screw, rather than the ball tip, will contact the sapphire end stone and, as a result, the actuator should not be used with Polaris mounts.
These compact K-Cube Controllers provide easy manual and PC control of our piezo inertia stages, actuators, and optic mounts. They feature adjustable voltage output from 85 V to 125 V. The top panel display screen enables operation as soon as the unit is turned on, without the need for connection to a PC. Alternatively, both controllers have USB connectivity that provides 'Plug-and-Play' PC-controlled operation with our Kinesis® software package (included). The KIM101 controller can also be operated with our legacy APT™ (Advanced Positioning Technology) software package.
These units have small footprints and may be mounted directly to the optical table using the 1/4" (M6) counterbored slots in the base plate. Their compact size allows these controllers to be positioned close to the motorized system for added convenience when manually adjusting motor positions using the top panel controls. Tabletop operation also allows minimal drive cable lengths for easier cable management.
Please note that these controllers do not ship with a power supply. The compatible KPS101 power supply is sold below.
KIM001 Single-Channel Controller
KIM101 Four-Channel Controller
For more information, please see the full web presentation.
Power Supply Options
The KPS101 power supply outputs +15 VDC at up to 2.4 A and can power a single K-Cube or T-Cube with a 3.5 mm jack. It plugs into a standard wall outlet.