Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Flexure Augmented Roller Bearing

Technology #6806

Nanopositioning (NP) stages are increasing important for applications in nanoscale manufacturing and laboratory measurement. Friction bearings (such as roller bearings) provide the largest range of motion at an affordable cost, but have prolonged settling times due to nanoscale friction effects. Flexure-guided stages can be mounted on top of roller-guided stages for a coarse-fine hybrid setup that improves speed and accuracy, but this adds significantly to cost and complexity. Flexure Augmented Roller (FAR) Bearing technology seeks to combine affordable accuracy and long-range in the nanopositioning market.

Hybrid bearings address friction limits for greater accuracy

By combining a roller bearing with friction-free flexure joints, guided structures can move over long distances while still being positioned accurately. The flexure joint allows fine positioning when the roller bearing is adversely affected by friction, minimizing the effect of the friction from an attached nanopositioning stage. Only one actuator is needed to drive the stage in this configuration, reducing costs and bulk. Simulation results of FAR bearings have predicted up to a 67.7% reduction in settling time compared to purely roller bearing-guided system.

Applications

  • High accuracy nanopositioning stages
  • Large displacement nanopositioning stages

Advantages

  • Reduces actuator and sensor costs of nanopositioning stages
  • Combines long working range with highly accurate fine motions
  • Decreases bulk and weight of systems