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High resolution sensor for nano-scale position sensing

12 December 2015

Employing capacitance micrometry, the NX NanoSensor from Queensgate delivers sensitivity levels that are able to measure changes in position to an atomic scale.

The non-contact position measuring system relies on two sensor plates - a target and a probe, which between them form a parallel plate capacitor. Using an appropriate electronic controller, the spacing of these two plates can be accurately ascertained.

Among the key applications for the NX NanoSensor are stage feedback, vibration measurement, metrology, deformation measurements, precision manufacturing, drift measurement, precision beam steering and microscopy.

Position can be determined to a margin of better than 7ppm, with a linearity to 0.02 percent and a bandwidth from 50Hz to 10kHz. There is provision for the system to be tuned so that either the positional accuracy is improved or, conversely, the responsiveness to dynamic motion is heightened. 

Plate shapes that are round, square or rectangular can be selected, with active areas of 22.5mm2, 113mm2 and 282mm2 available. Working in tandem with the NX NanoSensor, the NS2000 controller module measures any changes in the parallel plate capacitance to produce an analogue voltage that is directly proportional to the difference in position of the target and probe sensor plates.

The non-contact measurement and non-self-heating mechanism means that NX NanoSensor products do not impact the values they are measuring, thereby giving true nanoscale measurements. Furthermore, they use a non-hysteretic technique, which means the position is repeatable.

Materials of construction include Super-Invar, Zerdur, aluminium, stainless steel and ceramic. Ultra high vacuum, radiation hardened, non-magnetic and cryogenic variants can be specified.

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