Parallel Kinematic Piezoelectric Stage

The PKA-XYZ-400 piezoelectric nanopositioning stage was developed and commercialized with Switzerland’s Paul Scherrer Institute and uses a parallel kinematic architecture for high stiffness and resonant frequency with three translational degrees of freedom. It features flexure-guided motion over a nominal 400 um travel range.  The stage’s stable and stiff kinematic design promotes parallelism in the output motion with minimal roll and tilt as well as dynamic responsiveness for excellent position stability and control.  It is designed to include high-resolution metrology that, when combined with a suitable 3 channel low-noise piezoelectric amplifier, can deliver position resolution of 12 nm or better. 


Open-Loop Travel: 400 micron in X, Y, or Z (See plot in product datasheet)
Closed-Loop Resolution: Metrology dependent 12 nanometers typical with capacitive probe
Runout (Ɵх, Ɵу): < 20 micro radians typical
Unloaded Resonant Freq: >450 Hz
Resonant Freq with 50g: >400 Hz
Electrical Capacitance: 32 µF per channel
Operating Temp Range: 25 to 50 degrees Celsius
Dimensions: 183 mm diameter by 77 mm tall
Material: Stainless steel, titanium
Ultra-High Vacuum Compatible


Parallel kinematic mechanisms are recommended for applications where high natural frequency and stiffness are needed with multiple degrees of freedom.  Parallel kinematic designs are generally reserved for high performance systems, for example ones requiring high scanning rates.

  • Scanning X-ray Microscopy
  • Microscope Sample Positioning
  • Semiconductor Test & Manufacture

Highlights of the PKA Stage Design

  • Flexure guided stages for smooth, parallel motion
  • Minimal and repeatable angular runout
  • Option for integrated metrology
  • High natural frequencies and rapid response
  • Displacement range of 400 µm
  • Customizable and scalable for new applications
  • Low Runout
  • Clear Center Aperture

About the Original Application

The Paul Scherrer Institute is the largest national research institute in Switzerland. The PKA-XYZ-400 was designed to be used in an assembly that performs scanning X-ray microscopy.  PSI is a world leader in this area, having recently achieved a world record in X-ray tomography resolution.