News | March 2, 2022

Low Profile 5-Axis Air Bearing Motion System For Semiconductor, Laser Processing


San Francisco, CA -- PI introduced a new high performance 5-axis air bearing motion system at the recent SPIE Photonics West event, the world’s largest photonics conference, perfectly placed right in the back yard of Silicon Valley. Suited for high end motion and positioning control applications with nanometer precision, such as required in semiconductor front-end/back-end processes (wafer processing operation and assembly process), the low profile multi-axis stage motion system is based on a combination of PI’s successful A-311 PIglide planar XY-air bearing stage, the unique low-profile A-532, a 3-axis Z-Tip-Tilt stage, and the A-826, a 6-axis high performance industrial motion controller.

Applications of the 5-axis air bearing stage include:

  • Indexing, positioning
  • Wafer/substrate test and inspection
  • Scanning, metrology
  • ACS based alignment solutions for production test and packaging needs
  • Direct-write lithography
  • µLED fabrication
  • Clean room applications

Specifications of the XYZ-Theta-X-Theta-Y system include: 300x300mm linear travel, 5mm Z-travel, 2° θX, θY rotation, nanometer resolution. A video of the system in motion is available here.

Why Air Bearings?

Compared to mechanical, roller or ball bearing based linear stages and rotary stages, air bearings are friction free and wear free and generate no particles during operation, making them clean-room compatible and ideal for dynamic, 24/7 duty cycle automation applications. In an air bearing stage, the moving platform glides on a thin film of air. This principle also is responsible for the surface averaging effect that significantly improves geometric performance such as straightness and flatness in linear motion applications while reducing runout and wobble in rotary tables.

Working with You

PI’s in-house engineered solutions have enabled customers around the world to increase their productivity and technological advantage for 5 decades. With a large basis of proven motion technologies and methodologies, PI is in the position to quickly modify existing designs or provide a fully customized OEM solution to fit the exact requirements of your application from sensors and piezo transducers to microscope nano-focus units, fast photonics alignment systems to multi-axis automation sub-systems.

About PI

PI is a privately held company that designs and manufactures world-class precision motion and automation systems including air bearings, hexapods and piezo drives at locations in North America, Europe, and Asia. The company was founded 5 decades ago and today employs more than 1300 people worldwide. PI’s customers are leaders in high-tech industries and research institutes in fields such as photonics, life-sciences, semiconductors, and aerospace.