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Project NanoFab

IMMS has been working on solutions for a highly dynamic drive system for multi-axis manufacturing and processing of objects with nanometre precision in the Research Training Group 2182 ”NanoFab“.

PhD students have been working in the NanoFab Research Training Group (RTG) 2182 on a project funded by the DFG (German Research Council). The work is on tip-based and laser-based three-dimensional nanofabrication techniques applied to large (macroscopic) areas. The supervisors of the PhD students are teaching and research staff of Ilmenau TU and IMMS under the leadership of the Institute of Process Measurement and Sensor Technology which is concerned with sensors and process measurements in manufacturing in the Mechanical Engineering Faculty.

Nanofabrication – not used up to now for large objects and still without error correction

The RTG is investigating techniques of manufacturing that will in future enable macroscopic objects to be made to the nanometre scale of precision in ever more fields of manufacture. Admittedly, it is already possible to produce structures below ten nanometres using nanofabrication, but an object area of only a few hundred square micrometres is the limit, and speeds are slow and accuracy limited. The particular challenge being taken up by the NanoFab RTG is that error correction should be able to take place even while the nanofabrication is running; to date, straight measurements have been possible, but in-process correction has not. Currently, if static or dynamic deviations of position arise during nanoproduction, among the problems they cause, are errors in the geometry, irregularities in shape or roughness in the structures or objects – all of which can be established only with hindsight.

There are six investigative subprojects, with the NanoFab TSG working on a variety of fronts in around the practicability of freeforms manufactured in 3D at nanometre precision and with in-process error correction. The fronts include theory and metrology, tools and parallelisation, kinematics and control: control is relevant in lithography, optical microsystems, real-time process management and multi-dimensional drive and positioning dynamics.

IMMS at work on highly dynamic nanofabrication drives

At the Institute, a drive system is being explored that permits multi-axis manufacturing and processing of objects with nanometre accuracy. In such a drive, extremely even and smooth movement must take place in the complex spatial trajectories dictated by the geometry of what is to be fabricated.

To achieve high machining speeds, the entire drive system (actuators, guides, sensors, amplifiers, control) must be able to execute the set points with minimal deviation and extremely fast. It will be necessary to develop drive systems with near-perfect reproducibility and synchronism if multi-axial nanofabrication of relatively large objects is to be achieved. 3D-positioning of objects is already possible; further degrees of movement are necessary, actuators and sensors need to be integrated into the drive structure and controls.

The research emphasis is on synchronicity in the movements, temperature maintenance, minimal power dissipation and minimisation of drive and disturbance forces. In these innovative drives for nanofabrication, what is crucial is highly dynamic drive and positioning capable of being adapted to the motion required, so that the consequences for drive, controls and overall dimensioning must all be taken into account.

Acronym / Name:

NanoFab / Tip-based and laser-based three-dimensional nanofabrication techniques applied to large (macroscopic) areas

Duration:2017 – 2026


Research institutions and ultra-precision mechanical engineering|Precision machining of freeform surfaces e.g. precision optics| Fabrication of aspheres

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

Related content

All publicationsNanoFab


CCTA 2022

Conference on control technology and applications



euspen’s 22nd International Conference & Exhibition


SPIE 2021

Advanced Lithography Digital Forum of The International Society for Optics and Photonics


ASPE 2018

33rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Precision Engineering

Press release,

Ready for Take-off – Vertikalantrieb für die 3D-Nanofertigung vorgestellt

IMMS-Doktorand verteidigt Promotion im DFG-Graduiertenkolleg NanoFab



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 Research Training Group 2182 on Tip- and laser-based 3D-Nanofabrication in extended macroscopic working areas (NanoFab) is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under the funding code DFG GRK 2182.

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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.