Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co. KG
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About Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co. KG

PI Technology Roadmap

PI Group – Unique in Piezo Technology and Precision Positioning

No other company in the world offers a broader and deeper portfolio of precision motion technologies than the PI Group. Continuous growth through the development of novel products and technologies is one of the main characteristics of the PI Group.

Well known for the high quality of its products, PI (Physik Instrumente) has been one of the leading players in the global market for precision positioning technology for many years. PI has been developing and manufacturing standard and OEM products with piezo or motor drives for 40 years. Continuous development of innovative drive concepts, products, and system solutions and more than 200 technology patents distinguish the company history today. PI develops, manufactures, and qualifies all core technology itself: From piezo components, -actuators, and motors as well as magnetic direct drives through air bearings, magnetic and flexure guides to nanometrological sensors, control technology, and software.

PI is therefore not dependent on components available on the market to offer its customers the most advanced solutions. The high vertical range of manufacturing allows complete control over processes and this allows flexible reaction to market developments and new requirements. By acquiring the majority shares in ACS Motion Control, a worldwide leading developer and manufacturer of modular motion controllers for multi-axis drive systems, PI can also supply customized complete systems for industrial applications that make the highest demand on precision and dynamics. In addition to four locations in Germany, the PI Group is represented internationally by fifteen sales and service subsidiaries.

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PI Ceramic – Piezo Technology Specialist

PI Ceramic currently employs 300 people. It was founded in Lederhose (Thuringia, Germany) in 1992 as development and manufacturing site for piezoelectric transducers. Today, it is one of the world leaders in the field of piezo actuators and sensors used for wealth of applications, reaching from precision positioning to metrology, and from ultrasound generation to energy recovery.

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Optical methods have been relying on PI positioning systems for years, e.g. for aligning optical systems or samples. Piezo actuators and motors are increasingly replacing conventional drive systems because they are more compact, more precise and faster. Other non-optical microscopic processes, such as SEM (scanning electron microscope) and AFM (atomic force microscope), use PI systems due to their high accuracy and dynamics.

Imaging Methods

Nowadays, numerous industries depend on faster and more precise imaging methods. In all markets, the required tasks are focusing, zoom, object alignment and higher resolution. This ranges from the inspection of surface structures on semiconductors or flat screens with whitelight interferometry to optical microscopy, and from the digitalization of documents to image stabilization for aerial photography and astronomy. In all of these fields, the PI Group is present with its precise, highly stable and dynamic positioning systems.

PI Products for Microscopy / Imaging

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PI‘s piezoelectric drive systems can be modified to cope with extreme ambient conditions, such as ultrahigh vacuum, strong magnetic fields or extremely low temperatures. Piezoceramics are intrinsically compatible with these extreme conditions, but the selection of the right system components and the assembly process requires a lot of experience.

PI miCos is an expert in classical drive technologies for UHV, in particular when it comes to designing complex multi-axis systems for high loads and long travel ranges.

Motorized stages for vacuum and cryo

Piezo nanopositioning systems for vaccum and non-magnetic applications

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Hexapod and SpaceFAB

Hexapod platforms are used for moving and precision positioning, aligning and displacing loads in all six degrees of freedom, i.e. three linear and three rotational axes. Hexapods have a parallel-kinematic structure, i.e. the six drives act together on a single moving platform.

H-820 Cost-efficient Hexapod with controller

H-845 High-load Hexapod: positioning 1 ton with micrometer precision

C-887.311 Hexapod control with ethercat: motion controller with automation interface for six-axis positioning systems

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Due to their special properties piezoceramic components and piezoelectric actuators provide important advantages:

  • compact dimensions and high flexibility in designs
  • high dynamics for fast processes
  • no friction, no maintenance, no wear
  • cost-efficient, piezoceramic actuators are manufactured in large-scale production
  • piezo drives are self-locking: no energy consumption at rest

The PI Group offers:

Piezo components

Piezo actuators

Preloaded piezo stack actuators

Lever amplified actuators

Drive solutions for medical engineering


The use of high-precision positioning systems with nanometer and sub-nanometer accuracy allows resolution of very fine structures in production and inspection. This allows production of more and more powerful integrated electronic components and investigation of new diagnostic and therapeutic methods in life sciences.

PI offers

  • piezo scanning stages for 1 to 3 axes, e. g.
    • P-630 High-dynamics nanopositioning system with large clear aperture
    • P-763 Compact XY nanopositioning system with clear aperture
  • piezo Z scanners and objective scanners incl. controller and software, e. g.
  • S-334 Miniature piezo tip/tilt-mirror with up to 100 mrad deflection

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