This article has been supplied by Elektron Technology.

Queensgate Instruments

Queensgate Instruments, an Elektron Technology brand, specialize in creating nanopositioning and sensing solutions for high-tech industries, with variants for precision measurement in vacuum, radiation and cryogenic environments. The company was founded in 1978 as a spin-off from Imperial College, London, and pioneered the use of capacitive metrology for nanopositioning. With deep roots in academia, Queensgate has stayed firmly involved in cutting-edge research and development, and has a range of market-leading products.

The Nanosensor® is a non-contact measuring system based on the principle of capacitance micrometry. Two nanosensor plates (the probe and target) are mounted facing each other. The nominal gap is usually equivalent to the measurement range and the sensors operate from 50% nominal to 150% nominal. One plate is usually secured to a fixed position and the other moves. Short-range sensors generally offer the best resolution, with less than 10 pm possible for a 20 µm range. Longer range sensors of 11 mm can still offer high resolutions of a few tens of nanometres.

Our standard range of capacitive sensors, the NX series, are metal plate sensors. The standard models are constructed in aluminium, with the option of Super Invar for superior thermal stability. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit the application.

One of our latest products, the NC Nanosensor™ capacitive sensor series, has been specially developed to meet the requirements of partial accelerators. Originally developed for magnet positioning inside vacuum, it offers exceptional features.

Key features:

• UHV compatible – 10–10 Torr;
• radiation hard to 107 gray, allowing use in environments that are exposed to broad spectrum radiation;
• broad operating temperature range – 0 °K to 450 °K;
• non-magnetic – gold-plated ceramic and aluminium construction;
• self-zeroing – capacitive Nanosensor® systems can be set to the same position without the need for a zero reference;
• secondary EMI shielding – the NC series incorporates a primary driven screen and a secondary grounded screen.

Queensgate also produces a range of piezo actuators, available for UHV. The Digital Piezo Translators (DPT) are a family of preloaded closed-loop piezoelectric actuators that incorporate capacitive feedback. This guarantees ultimate positioning performance. Their Super Invar construction provides high thermal stability and low drift. They are available with ranges from 20 µm to 110 µm, and can move loads up to 60 kg.

Our engineers, scientists and manufacturing experts provide the best solution for challenging problems. We can advise on the best use of standard products and are specialists in delivering custom systems. Products are engineered to last, with many systems in continuous operation in excess of 20 years. Queensgate offers a number of products, including flexure-guided stages, closed-loop actuators, nanopositioning sensors, as well as high-quality control electronics.

If you have a positioning application where you require a nanopositioning  solution, please contact us.