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Ultra-Miniature Linear Motion for Mobile and Handheld Devices

Ultra-Miniature Linear Motion for Mobile and Handheld Devices

A tiny ultrasonic piezo motor (2.8 x 2.8 x 6 mm) and drive ASIC (1.8 x 1.8 mm) creates a miniature linear motion system that offers performance comparable to much larger electromechanical systems using 40 percent lower power and less than one-fourth the size. Target applications are battery-operated hand-held devices, mobile phone cameras, digital still and video cameras and miniature medical actuators used for minimally invasive surgery.

The SQUIGGLE RV motor from New Scale Technologies is a new "reduced voltage" piezo micro motor that uses multi-layer piezo technology from TDK-EPC (formerly Epcos) to reduce the input voltage requirements. A NSD-2101 driver developed in partnership with austriamicrosystems controls the motor using a standard IA 2C interface.

The drive IC accepts direct 2.3 to 5.5V dc battery power and uses patented full-bridge switching technology to create the ultrasonic motor drive frequency. The IC has patent-pending smart drive features built-in that optimize motor performance while minimizing power consumption over a broad range of operating and environmental conditions. A built in oscillator eliminates the need for an external master clock.

"All of the drive circuitry is on the IC," says Ralph Weber, product manager for New Scale Technologies. "Using multilayer piezo technology, we have IP and patent pending concepts like hybrid controls and frequency tracking on the chip. As a result we almost double the force of our previous SQUIGGLE motor using half the power. It really performs like an electromagnetic linear system at about one-quarter of the size."

Weber says that the multilayer piezo technology provides an interleaving of piezo layers, and combining the layers in the piezo stack creates the same deflection at a lower voltage than a full single layer, piezo stack. The drive IC also uses a proprietary design to actively manage low power consumption. It offers a power-down mode for minimal power consumption in stand-by and an idle mode for reduced power consumption while maintaining frequency calibration.

"This is a tremendous milestone for the piezo motor industry," says Weber. "We are the first company to commercialize a piezoelectric motor system that matches the low voltage operation of stepper motors while at the same time using radically less space and power."

The SQL-RV-1.8 motor achieves forces in excess of 50 gm and high resolution to 0.5 micrometer. It can run at speeds greater than 7 mm/sec with power consumption of less than 350 mW when moving under typical loading conditions which corresponds to a dc current of only 120 mA for a typical 3V dc battery. Its unique self-locking design means that zero power is required to hold the motor position.

New Scale's TRACKER NSE-5310 linear encoder can be integrated with the SQUIGGLE RV system for high system repeatability with submicron resolution. Its small size provides an ability for designers to create tiny, high resolution integrated closed-loop motion systems.

Reduced voltage SQUIGGLE motor and drive IC offer high performance and direct 3V input to driver for integration into advanced miniature OEM products. Photo:  New Scale Technologies.
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