Picomotor actuators are ideal for motorizing fine-positioning stages and mounts for applications that require exceptional precision, small step sizes, and set-and-forget stability, all in a compact package.
Picomotor actuators rely on the basic difference between dynamic and static friction. An example of this is the magician's tablecloth trick, in which a quick pull (low dynamic friction) of the cloth leaves the dishes on the table, while a slow pull (high static friction) would pull the dishes off the table and cause a big mess! Our Picomotor actuator uses the same principle with a threaded jaw, similar to two halves of a split nut, clamped around a precision 80-pitch screw. One jaw is connected to one end of a piezoelectric transducer, and the other jaw is connected to the other end of the transducer. A slow electrical signal applied to the piezo slowly changes the length, causing the two jaws to slide in opposite directions. This slow sliding motion makes the screw turn (static friction). At the end of the transducer motion, a fast electrical signal quickly returns the jaws to their starting positions. Because of the screws inertia and low dynamic friction, it remains motionless, holding its position. Simply reversing the order of the fast and slow signals reverses the direction of rotation.
Our Picomotor actuators have a step size of less than 30 nm per step, allowing for very small, controlled movements.
With load capacity of 5 lbs (22 N), our Picomotor actuators have a substantial push force while still fitting in a compact package.
The Picomotor actuator moves when voltage is applied to the piezo, changing its length and in turn moving the jaws which turn the screw. When no power is applied, the actuator does not move. You can feel confident that your set-up will stay put, even when you power down your system.
The standard sized mounting options, 0.375" shank or M12 x 0.5 mm thread, of the Picomotor actuators allow them easily be integrated into standard micrometer mounting holes.
Our Open-Loop Picomotor controllers and drivers are modular. You can daisy-chain up to 31 drivers together with four channels each, so you can have a network of up to 124 standard Picomotor actuators. You have two interface options with the controller system: handpad or computer, both providing plug-and-play use. Alternatively, you may choose to use our TTL/Analog Picomotor driver.
The following controller/drivers are recommended for use with our picomotor actuators.