Maglev direct drive with cable-free passive stage. Photograph: IMMS.
Maglev direct drive with cable-free passive stage. Photograph: IMMS.


Development of a technologically new, magnetically guided 6D-positioner for high-precision scanning applications in the field of surface profiling and biotechnology.

Within the project a novel planar drive system was developed which is magnetically guided and moves objects with nanometer precision.

Systems like the Mag6D will be necessary for a particle-free production of microchips or for certain processes in materials research, surface measurement technology, the life sciences and the biotech sector. This high-precise positioning system moves a load accurately through six coordinates – the three spatial axes and the rotation around each of them. The stage levitates, supported only by a magnetic field which serves as drive and guidance for all the axes. The stage is entirely cable-free and functions without any form of contact, with the consequence that it will work in absolutely clean environments almost without generating any contaminant particles at all.

The positioning of the stage within the six degrees of freedom is modified by an optical incremental measurement system with a new type of sensor head made up of optical and capacitive sensors. The drive achieves highly precise movement: deviation from the ideal is never more than ten nanometers.

For the prototype system, the IMMS has developed a planar magnetic drive system. In addition, the Institute has created a compensation method which automatically covers the manufacturing and material tolerances of assemblies. With the aid of correction matrices in the control loop it allows a nanometer-precise movement in six dimensions.

  • Funding

    The Mag6D project was funded by the ZIM programme "Central Innovation Programme SME" promoted by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology (BMWi), grant number KF2534501BN9.


2010 – 2011