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Aerotech delivers advanced silicon carbide XY air-bearing stage

04 April 2015

Aerotech's PlanarHDX air-bearing platform was designed using an FEA-optimised silicon carbide structure and optimized air-bearing compensation techniques to provide high dynamic performance and positioning accuracy.

PlanarHDX structural elements were designed using an advanced silicon carbide ceramic with a specific stiffness five times higher than aluminium and a coefficient of thermal expansion approximately five times lower.

The resulting material and FEA-optimised structure enable 1.5m/s scan speeds and  g peak acceleration with a payload of up to 20kg for extremely high throughput processing – without sacrificing dynamic tracking, geometric performance, or thermal stability.

Other design enhancements include a new air-bearing compensation strategy that increases stiffness and load capacity for demanding high-dynamic applications. Using proven air-on-air preloading in critical bearing elements improves turnaround and settling times over vacuum-preloaded designs.

A proprietary reaction-mass design significantly reduces stage-induced forces in the step-axis that are transferred to the isolation system or customer’s structure (optics, sensors, for example). By minimising these dynamic forces, move-and-settle time is reduced and process throughput is increased.

The PlanarHDX is available with passive or active isolation systems. Additional axes such as Z-tip-tilt or Z-theta designs as well as custom wafer load/unload mechanisms and wafer chucks are available. Machine weldments, complex granite base structures, or enclosures can also be provided. Feedback options include low-expansion glass scale encoders or interferometer.

More information on the PlanarHDX is available here.

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