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Testing nanopositioning devices for Queensgate

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has a long standing collaboration with Queensgate Instruments in the area of provision of metrology for nanopositioning. NPL and Queensgate recently completed an Innovate UK project in which NPL developed optical interferometry to enable Queensgate to verify the performance of the next generation of its nanopositioning stages.

Queensgate's nanopositioning devices are used by world-leading producers of semiconductors and other high technology industries, with applications ranging from robotic surgery to hard disk drive testing.

The data storage industry needs a step change in hard disk testing capability, with increases in data density and production volumes putting pressure on the positioning systems used in test equipment. Queensgate was looking for independent verification of the performance of its next generation of nanopositioning stages, built to satisfy the demands of the sector.

Precision metrology at the nanoscale is crucial for these components. NPL is active in the area of nanometre and sub-nanometre displacement metrology using optical and X-ray interferometry that can be used for high-accuracy characterisation of nanopositioning stages.

The independent validation of Queensgate's stages by NPL demonstrated that the stages satisfy both Queensgate and its customers' requirements.

Keith Daley, Chairman at Elektron Technology plc (Queensgate's parent company), said: "The help we received from NPL was very valuable; it gave us greater confidence in both our stages and the metrology we use in our factory to verify their performance. This enables us to deliver market leading nanopositioning systems for our customers."

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