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Long-Range Nanopositioning

Long-range nanopositioning is a key enabling technology, catalyzing advances in a variety of existing and emerging domains such as scanning probe microscopy, semiconductor packaging and inspection, high-density data storage, micro additive manufacturing, and nano-metrology. Flexure bearings have emerged as a ubiquitous choice for nano-positioning applications since they experience low hysteresis and eliminate the effects of friction and backlash. The conflicting requirements of centimeter scale travel, high bandwidth, low stress concentration, and adequate safety factor make it challenging to design a compact flexure-based positioning stage. Existing designs demonstrate high accuracy and resolution, but acknowledge that large motion ranges are achieved at the cost of low resonant frequency.

The purpose of this research is to enable high-speed, long-range nanopositioning through computational optimization of Double Parallelogram (DP) flexure-based nanopositioning stages. The proposed methods can be used to design a platform with two degrees-of-freedom, meeting the required static and dynamic performance characteristics in a compact form-factor. By stacking planar DP units with optimized structural members, the proposed design can travel 50 mm in each axis with sub-micron resolution while simultaneously minimizing footprint, particularly advantageous in space constrained applications.