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Project K4PNP+Z

IMMS develops actuators to position objects in planes with diameters up to 200 mm and a vertical stroke of 25 mm with nanometre precision.

Direct drives position wafers and exposure masks in semiconductor production with high precision within one plane. To enable objects to be lifted with nanometer precision over an area of more than only a few square millimeters, IMMS had already developed a 6D direct drive with partners. This can raise and lower objects through 10 mm under active control with nanometre precision in a travel range of 100 mm diameter in the plane.

Larger vertical movements limit precision and movement dynamics up to now

The requirements from industry do not only concern horizontal movements (x,y), in order to be able to structure and position surfaces and structures of millimetre or centimetre sized products with nanometre precision. Increasingly large vertical movements are to be carried out at the same time. The 6D direct drive works with electromagnetic vertical drives (z). The higher objects are lifted with it, the greater the distance between the x-y drive coils, which are fixed to the frame, and the magnetic coils in the slider, which are required for the horizontal precision movements. Even a small amount of lifting drastically reduces the efficiency of the x-y drive system, multiplying power losses and thereby limiting the achievable motion dynamics due to thermal effects.

New vertical tracking elements will increase stroke distance

In order to overcome these hurdles, IMMS is working on concepts for new components in the K4PNP+Z project, with which the x-y drive coils, which have been fixed to the frame up to now, are now to be vertically tracked for a larger stroke and thus kept close to the magnets in the slider. These vertical tracking elements will be built, integrated into the overall system and experimentally investigated. Likewise, the vertical drive units for the higher travel distances and for higher payloads will be designed and tested. In perspective, z-strokes up to 25 mm with lateral travel ranges (x-y) over diameters of 200 mm are to be reached.

Acronym / Name:

K4PNP+Z / Components for planar nanopositioning systems with extended z-measurement range

Duration:2020 – 2022


Research institutions and ultra-precision mechanical engineering

Research field:Magnetic 6D-direct drives with nanometre precision



Dr.-Ing. Frank Spiller

Interim Head of Mechatronics

frank.spiller(at) (0) 3677 874 93 61

Dr. Frank Spiller will provide detail on our research on magnetic 6D direct drives with nm precision for the nm measurement and structuring of objects. He supports you with services for the development of mechatronic systems, for simulation, design and test of MEMS as well as for finite element modelling (FEM) and simulation.


The K4PNP+Z project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) / Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) as part of the “Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM)”programme under the reference ZF4085714JO9.

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Service for R&D

Development of mechatronic systems

We develop actuator systems and open- and closed-loop controls as embedded solutions according to customer specifications with highest demands on precision, dynamics, available space, performance and efficiency.

Research field

Magnetic 6D direct drives with nm precision

To enable the manufacturing of macroscopic high-tech products with microscopic precision, we are researching scientific principles and technical solutions for nanopositioning systems for large motion ranges.

Lead application

nm measurement and structuring of objects

To be able to manufacture the ever-increasing complexity of integrated systems on ever-smaller semiconductor surfaces, for example, we are researching ever more precise drives for the nanometre measurement and structuring of objects.