In cooperation with the Institute for Microelectronic and Mechatronic System and the Department of Mechatronics of Ilmenau University of Technology (Grmany), Physik Instrumente (PI) has designed a novel nanopositioning platform based on magnetic levitation. The platform utilizes a magnetic field that is generated by six coils and actively monitored by a 6D sensor. The magnetic field acts as a drive for the platform and actively guides the platform.


The magnetic field drive and the compact high-resolution measurement system with six degrees of freedom are designed to allow the platform to be passive, with no cable connections necessary. A two-dimensional optical incremental measurement system and capacitive sensors detect the platform position and control the drive in all axes. This allows objects to be moved linearly or rotationally on a plane with unprecedented positioning accuracy.


This nanopositioning system could replace the air-bearing systems and magnetic linear motors typically found in inspection and manufacturing systems used in the semiconductor industry. According to PI, if the platform moves on a circular path with a diameter of 100 nm, the maximum deviation from the ideal path is only a few nanometers. The current prototype has a motion range of 100 x 100 x0.15 mm and supports trajectories with nanometer precision at accelerations up to 2m/s² and velocities up to 100 mm/s. The digital motion controller, based on a modular system from PI, can process various types of geometry file as well as coordinate transformations.