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PI offers fast multi-channel photonics alignment system

During production and inspection of components with optical data transmission, it is important to align fibres or fibre arrays with the highest possible accuracy. Position tolerances under 50nm are common and multi-channel inputs and outputs require simultaneous alignment in several axes.

Physik Instrumente (PI) has the answer with two high-precision photonics alignment systems that enable multiple fibres to be aligned in seconds. Both systems are based on a very stiff design that consists either of three stacked linear axes (F-712.MA), or – if rotary motion is required – a parallel-kinematic hexapod (F-712.HA) combined respectively with a nanopositioner.

The stacked axes and parallel kinematics with their motorised drives enable longer travel ranges of a few millimetres for coarse positioning, while the NanoCube positioner ensures fast scanning motion and dynamic compensation of drift effects. Flexure guides and all-ceramic insulated piezo actuators guarantee a long lifetime. Position sensors on all drives prevent collisions, for example, with an expensive silicon wafer.

The stacked system operates in all three axes for coarse positioning with travel ranges from up to 25mm at a minimum incremental motion of 2µm, and a maximum velocity of 20mm/s. For hexapods, the travel ranges in the X, Y, and Z direction are ±6.5; ±16 and ±8.5mm, and for the three rotational axes at ±14.5, ±10, and ±10 degrees. The minimum incremental motion is 0.1µm respectively. The system operates at a maximum velocity of 10mm/s and can delicately position the user-defined centre of rotation (pivot point) at any point in space, even at different angles, for example, when positioning fibre arrays.

The NanoCube, which takes care of the fine positioning for both systems, operates with travel ranges of 100µm in all three axes and a minimum incremental motion of 2.5nm. The positioning time for area scanning over 100µm x 100µm is less than one second at a maximum deviation of the peak intensity of 0.02dB.

Both systems are available for either single-sided or double-sided positioning tasks. The package includes a high-performance digital controller (E-712), firmware routines with algorithms for very fast positioning, and an extensive software package. The matching hexapod controller (C-887) is also supplied with the parallel-kinematic set-up


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