Ideally Suited Stepper Motors for UHV Applications

The ability to conduct precision research with experimental systems has advanced considerably since the introduction of vacuum technology.

Now with the use of ultra high vacuum (UHV) technology, extremely low pressure environments can be created to remove interference from gas scattering and enable surfaces to be atomically cleaned; allowing for preparation of studies in a completely contamination-free state.

However with such a demanding and sensitive environment it is vital that any mechanical equipment used be suitable enough to withstand extreme conditions, from plummeting pressures to temperatures ranging from -190°C to 200°C.

It’s true that not many mechanical components can claim to operate effectively under such extreme conditions, however the Ultra High Vacuum Stepper Motor is ideally suited for precision motor control inside UHV environments.

A Deeper Look into UHV Stepper Motor Design

UHV stepper motors such as manufactured by Arun Microelectronics Ltd, Nanotec® and supplied by All Drives and Controls are specifically designed for use in UHV environments such as cryogenics, space and nuclear industry.

The design of the UHV stepper motor allows it to endure hours of ‘baking’ in temperatures up to 200°C for the removal of water and trace gases for complete decontamination.

Then with the UHV stepper motor’s optimised construction and vacuum-compatible materials, it is able to operate in temperatures ranging from -196°C to +175°C, performing sensitive handling manipulations with precision without the use of motion feed through.

The minimal components of the UHV stepper motor and the absence of metal to metal sliding surfaces means that formation of any particles is minimised, this benefit, including its low out-gassing design characteristics make it a valuable device for ultra high vacuum environments.

Aside from its robust construction, the UHV stepper motor provides peace of mind with additional capabilities including:

  • An embedded thermocouple for temperature monitoring and control
  • Open construction with all internal spaces vented
  • Radiation-hardened versions
  • Custom shaft modified versions
  • A dedicated drive
  • Simplified connections
  • Torque ratings from 75 to 200 mNm
  • Suitable for use below 1×10-10mbar

With the ability to provide precision in-vacuum manipulation under intense UHV conditions, it’s no surprise that the UHV stepper motor was chosen for use on the Mars Rover.  

Designed to withstand intense heat and vibrations from launch to the ultra-cold, high-vacuum exposure on its interplanetary cruise to Mars, the use of a UHV stepper motor on the Mars Rover made an ideal solution for the robotic application that operates with such precision it can drop an aspirin tablet into a thimble.*

So it’s easy to see what makes the UHV stepper motor an ideal choice for ultra high vacuum environments.

With a range of sizing options and torque ratings available, All Drives and Controls is on hand to provide specialist advice on the most effective UHV stepper motor for your application; leaving you to focus on the more pressing matter of making scientific and technological advances.

All Drives and Controls: Driving to the Future

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*Resources: http://mars.nasa.gov/files/resources/MSLLithoSet2013.pdf