Piezo motors offer technical benefits and are now an affordable alternative to DC motors for rotary and linear motion requirements. They are direct drive and offer high precision with fast response times, plus good power density and light weight. With zero power to hold they offer the possibility of very efficient overall duty. They can be designed to offer low magnetic permeability for use in MRI fields, are immune from EM and RF interference, and have no emissions.

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Piezo motors require no power when inactive and maintain full blocking force and torque in this condition. At one revolution per minute a rotary motor requires less than 0.1 Watts and linear motors only need 0.06 Watts to drive at 1mm/second. This can lead to low overall power demand and is especially applicable in portable instrument applications with a battery supply; it can also be beneficial in reducing heat generation inside equipment. For the same power as a comparable sized stepper motor the piezo motor has a stall torque up to 10x greater for the same power rating.

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The initial effective motors using the reverse piezoelectric effect were created by the mid-1960s at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. The technology has continued to evolve, and today a range of linear and rotary motion devices are available offering precise motion control down to nanometer precision. However, they are typically high-cost devices and are primarily used in specific premium market applications such as optics, semiconductor, and photonics.

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The piezo drive scenario is the complement of the electromagnetic drive, where current drive is needed and voltage is a consequence; here, voltage is what is needed, and current is the consequence. The piezo driver must supply the needed voltage (not current) into a capacitive (not inductive) load, and it must control and modulate this voltage to force the desired crystal elongation. In other words, current is the independent parameter and voltage is reliant on parameter for conventional motors, but for piezo motors, the situation is the opposite.

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