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Flexure-Based Piezo Actuators for Pharmaceutical and Biotech Applications

Published on January 8, 2008 at 1:53 PM

Piezo specialist PI’s flexure-based piezo actuators such as the P-601 series provide up to 10 times larger travel ranges than classical piezo stack actuators a in low profile package, with virtually unlimited resolution and lifetime.

Several piezo flexure actuators shown with the E-831 piezo driver module.
The stiff construction allows for fast response with rise times much shorter than one millisecond. The design involves no friction, no lubricants and no wear.

Because of the many advantages over motor/leadscrew-driven positioners, more and more flexure actuators are used in fast-focusing mechanisms and for other precision positioning tasks, ranging from data storage to pharmaceutical and biotech applications.

In life science applications, piezo actuators can be used for micro-dispensing and valve control applications, or for scanning and fast optical adjustments in drug screening apparatus.

Features & Advantages

  • Flexure Guidance for Frictionless, Ultra-Straight Motion
  • Low Cost, OEM Piezo Driver Modules also Available
  • Low Profile, High Stiffness, Travel Ranges to >1000 µm feasible
  • Closed-Loop Control, Resolution Better than 1 Nanometer
  • PICMA® Long-Life Ceramic Encapsulated Piezo Actuators
  • Optional Vacuum and Non-Magnetic Versions
  • Fast Response, < 1 Millisecond Feasible

Typical Applications

  • Medical Instrumentation
  • Nanotechnology
  • Clean Room Micro-Manufacturing
  • Auto Focus, High Throughput Screening
  • Micro-Dispensing
  • High-Speed Valve Control
  • Nanoliter Pumps
  • Laser & Spectrometer Tuning

Lifetime

The lifetime of the actuators depends mainly on the integrated piezo-ceramic “motion engine”. Here, the latest ceramic encapsulated low-voltage multilayer piezo stacks provide protection from humidity and moisture, and deliver up to 10 times longer service life than the still widely used epoxy-coated multilayer piezo stacks. A preload protects the ceramics from tension forces during dynamic positioning.

Easy Mounting and Integration, no Guiding System Required

The latest flexure actuators already incorporate a precision frictionless guiding mechanism. When integrating the actuators into a positioning system, no extra linear bearings or roller bearings are needed, saving further cost and space.

Vacuum Compatible and Non-Magnetic Designs

Piezo flexure actuators require no lubricants, and if ceramic encapsulated piezo ceramics are used (no outgassing / high bakeout temperatures) they are ideal for ultra-high-vacuum applications. Non magnetic designs are also available.

http://www.pi-usa.us

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