Position Sensor Comparison

Get a comprehensive understanding and view the comparison of the different position sensor types found in our Motion Control Products.

Linearity and repeatability in nanopositioning systems would not be possible without highest-resolution measuring devices.

When accuracy in the range of a few nanometers and below is needed, a position measurement method that can detect motion in this range becomes required. To select the most suitable method the importaint factors to consider are linearity, resolution (sensitivity), stability, bandwidth, cost and the ability to directly record the motion of the platform.

To minimize the effect that the sensors has when in contact with the movable parts you will mostly find noncontact measurement methods and as small sensors as possible that may not heat up. Via our supplier, Physik Instrumente we offer the following sensor types for our nanopositioning systems.

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Capacitive sensors Strain gauges sensors (SGS) Piezoresistive sensors (PRS) Linear encoders
Sensitivity / Resolution* Excellent Very Good Excellent Excellent
Linearity Excellent Very Good Good Very Good
Stability / Repeatability Excellent Good Average Excellent
Bandwidth* Excellent Very Good Very Good Very Good
Measurement method Direct / Noncontact Indirect / With Contact Indirect / With Contact Direct / Noncontact
Measurement range <2 mm <2 mm <1 mm up to >100 mm

* The classifications refer to the characteristics of the nanopositioning system. The information on resolution, linearity, and repeatability in the respective data sheet reflect the specifications of the overall system, including controller, mechanics, and sensor. The checking is done with external measuring instruments (Zygo interferometer). This data must not be confused with the theoretical data of the sensor system.

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* This page is a rendition from our Supplier, Physik Insturmente GmbH, Comparison: Position Sensor Technologies page.