- ProductsProductsPI Ceramic offers a large number of standard products and solutions based on piezo technology. This includes piezoceramic components and elements as well as piezoelectric actuators.
- Piezoceramic ComponentsPiezoceramic ComponentsPI Ceramic manufactures a wide range of piezoceramic components in various shapes and sizes according to your needs – also with contacting or in miniature format.
- Piezoceramic ActuatorsPiezoceramic ActuatorsPI Ceramic offers a large number of piezoelectric actuators for applications in industry and research.
- PICMA® Piezo Linear ActuatorsPICMA® Piezo Linear ActuatorsThe compact PICMA® multilayer actuators feature linear deflections with low control voltages and, in the chip version, generate highly dynamic movements.
- PICMA® Piezo Bender ActuatorsPICMA® Piezo Bender ActuatorsMultilayer bending actuators: large displacement and high dynamics. Their bimorph structure ensures bidirectional displacement.
- PICA Piezoelectric Stack ActuatorsPICA Piezoelectric Stack ActuatorsStacked piezo linear actuators with operating voltages to 1000 V: High reliability, large specific displacement and high forces.
- PICA Shear ActuatorsPICA Shear ActuatorsMulti-axis and shear actuators in stacked design offer excellent dynamics combined with minimum electrical power requirements.
- DuraAct Patch TransducersDuraAct Patch TransducersDuraAct patch transducers convert electrical voltage into mechanical energy and vice versa; as actuator, sensor or as energy generator.
- Picoactuator® Piezoelectric CrystalPicoactuator® Piezoelectric CrystalThe motion of the Picoactuator® piezo crystals is highly linear and almost hysteresis-free and consequently suited for high-dynamics applications.
- Tube ActuatorsPiezo Tube ActuatorsRadially and axially contracting piezo tubes are often used for creating dynamic scanning motions and as fiber stretchers.
- PICMA® Piezo Linear Actuators
- Smart Interface: Piezo Components with Flexible Printed Circuit BoardsSmart Interface: Piezo Components with Flexible Printed Circuit BoardsIt is time-consuming and risky to provide piezo components with strands and to contact them on printed circuit boards yourself. PI Ceramic takes on this step for customers and supplies piezoceramic components with flexible printed circuit boards.
- Piezo Controllers & DriversPiezo Controllers & DriversControl electronics plays a key role in the performance of piezoelectric actuators. In addition to universal control electronics, highly suitable for most fields of application, PI offers a wide range of piezo amplifiers geared towards particular purposes.
- For PICMA® Stack/Chip Multilayer ActuatorsDrivers and Controllers for PICMA® Stack/Chip Multilayer ActuatorsAmplifiers with high output current allow dynamic operation of the actuators and precise positioning while requiring low power.
- For PICMA® Bender Multilayer ActuatorsDrivers and Controllers for PICMA® Bender Multilayer ActuatorsPiezo amplifiers for PICMA® Bender Actuators offer fixed and variable output voltages of up to 60 V for differential control.
- For PICA Stack/Power/Thru ActuatorsDrivers and Controllers for PICA Stack/Power/Thru ActuatorsPiezo amplifiers for PICA Actuators offer a voltage range of up to 1100 V, which is available as unipolar or bipolar voltage. Amplifiers with high output current allow dynamic operation of the actuators and precise positioning while requiring low power.
- For PICA Shear ActuatorsDrivers and Controllers for PICA Shear ActuatorsPiezo amplifiers for PICA Shear Actuators offer a bipolar output voltage of ±250 V.
- For DuraAct ActuatorsDrivers and Controllers for DuraAct ActuatorsDuraAct Actuators require different operating voltage ranges, depending on the integrated ceramic.
- For Picoactuator® ActuatorsDrivers and Controllers for Picoactuator® ActuatorsPicoactuator® actuators are operated with a bipolar voltage of ±500 V. The output voltage range of the PICA amplifiers can be set accordingly to suit this purpose. For smaller displacements, it is possible to use amplifiers for PICA Shear actuators of ±250 V.
- For Piezo TubesAmplifiers and Controllers for Piezo TubesPiezo amplifiers for Piezo Tubes are ideal for the control of segmented piezo scanner tubes and can be operated with a bipolar voltage.
- For Energy HarvestingElectronics for Energy HarvestingE-821 uses pulsed or continuous excitation for Energy Generation by means of piezo actuators.
- For PICMA® Stack/Chip Multilayer Actuators
- Piezoceramic MaterialsPiezoceramic MaterialsPI Ceramic offers a variety of different piezoelectric materials including lead-free materials.
- Miniaturized Piezo CeramicsMiniaturized Piezo CeramicsThanks to their compact design, miniaturized piezo components are ideally suited for the generation and detection of vibrations in the smallest of areas.
- DisksMiniaturized Disks
- PlatesMiniaturized Plates
- RingsMiniaturized Rings
- TubesMiniaturized Tubes
- Half and Hollow SpheresMiniaturized Half and Hollow Spheres
- Shear ElementsMiniaturized Shear Elements
- Bending ElementsMiniaturized Bending Elements
- HexagonsMiniaturized Hexagons
- (Shear) ConesMiniaturized (Shear) Cones
- Chip Actuators (PL022.3x)Chip Actuators (PL022.3x)
- Piezoceramic Components
- OEMOEM Solutions for Piezo Ceramics from PI CeramicPI Ceramic offers customized OEM solutions for piezo ceramics at the highest technological level and economically optimized.
- The PI Ceramic Tech CenterThe PI Ceramic Tech CenterFrom small series production to new production technologies: the PI Ceramic Tech Center supports you in the fast qualification of your project-specific samples.
- The PI Ceramic Tech Center
- ApplicationsApplications and Markets for Piezo TechnologyPiezo technology is used in different applications in medical technology, mechanical and automotive engineering or in semiconductor technology.
- Ultrasonic Measurement TechnologyUltrasonic Measurement TechnologyUltrasonic sensors emit high-frequency sound pulses and receive signals reflected from objects. The time the echo signals take to arrive is processed electronically and can be used for a wide range of applications in metrology.
- Noncontact Measurement with Air UltrasoundNoncontact Measurement with Air UltrasoundThe most widely used principle of ultrasonic level measurement is based on the propagation time measurement of air ultrasound pulse.
- Noncontact Flow MeteringNoncontact Flow MeteringThe propagation time metering the so-called Doppler principle are the two fundamental measurement processes in noncontact ultrasonic flow rate measurement.
- Noncontact Measurement with Air Ultrasound
- High-Power UltrasoundHigh-Power UltrasoundPiezoceramics can be used to generate ultrasonic waves in the frequency range of power ultrasound (20 to 800 kHz). They can be used in different diagnostic and therapeutic applications, for example in tartar removal or lithotripsy, but also in ultrasonic technology.
- Industrial Ultrasonic CleaningIndustrial Ultrasonic CleaningUltrasonic cleaning can be used to remove dirt particles in the nanometer range, without damaging sensitive surfaces by a too high pressure.
- Ultrasonic PiezomotorsUltrasonic PiezomotorsAn integral part of the PILine® ultrasonic piezomotors is a piezoceramic actuator that is pretensioned against a movably guided runner via a coupling element.
- Sonar Technology and HydroacousticsSonar Technology and HydroacousticsPiezoceramic components are used in sonar technology and hydroacoustic systems, for measuring and position-finding tasks.
- Industrial Ultrasonic Cleaning
- Acceleration MeasurementAcceleration MeasurementPiezo discs the centerpiece of force/acceleration sensors.
- Scientific InstrumentationScientific InstrumentationPiezo components have become firmly established in modern science as drives and ultrasonic transducers. They work reliably even under extreme conditions such as magnetic fields, cryogenic temperatures or ultrahigh vacuum.
- Mineralogical Analyses in NASA's Mars RoverMineralogical Analyses in NASA's Mars RoverNASA relies on PICMA® Multilayer Actuators from PI Ceramic.
- Cryogenic Applications in the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY)Cryogenic Applications in the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY)Dynamic Compensation of Lorentz Forces at the Accelerator Elements in Cryogenic Environments.
- Scanning Probe MicroscopyScanning Probe MicroscopyScanning probe microscopy benefits from piezo technology: Piezo tube actuators position highly dynamically over a lateral range of up to ±35 µm.
- Mineralogical Analyses in NASA's Mars Rover
- Precision DosingPrecision DosingPiezo elements pump and meter small liquid or gas volumes reliably and precisely in the range of a few hundred milliliters to a few nanoliters. The piezo elements can be adapted to each application environment.
- Metering with Piezo ValvesMetering with Piezo ValvesPiezo valves are highly suitable for dosing tasks: They can switch directly, and can also work against a closing spring.
- Metering with Piezo Valves
- Medical TechnologyMedical TechnologyPiezo components for medical technology and related life science disciplines must be fast, reliable and energy-efficient. In miniaturized form, they enable minimally invasive and highly precise diagnostic as well as therapeutic methods.
- Therapeutic Ultrasound with Piezo ComponentsTherapeutic Ultrasound with Piezo ComponentsTherapeutic ultrasound is used as a core element in applications such as tissue ablation, targeted drug delivery, or lithotripsy.
- Miniaturized Piezo Tubes in SFEMiniaturized Piezo Tubes in High-Resolution Scanning Fiber EndoscopyWith their fast deflection and control, miniaturized piezo tubes generate a scanning movement of the optical fiber in scanning fiber endoscopes (SFE), thus providing more image information and improved minimally invasive procedures in everyday clinical practice.
- Nebulizers with Piezo RingsNebulizers with Piezo RingsSpecially shaped piezo discs act as ultrasonic transducers in nebulizers, generating particularly homogeneous aerosols with high-frequency oscillations.
- Piezo Valves in BiotechnologyPiezo Valves in BiotechnologyPiezo-driven valves enable precise dosing in the nanolitre range, for example for drug screening or researching active agents.
- Piezoelectric MicropumpsPiezoelectric MicropumpsPiezoelectric micropumps are used in laboratory technology, medical technology, biotechnology, chemical analytics and process engineering.
- Piezo Actuators in Medical ImplantsPiezo Actuators in Medical ImplantsSystems implanted in the body such as dosing pumps for insulin or hearing aids are almost invisible and improve the quality of life of patients significantly. They are driven by ultra-compact and energy-efficient miniaturized piezo actuators.
- Therapeutic Ultrasound with Piezo Components
- Energy-Autarkic SystemsEnergy-Autarkic Systems with Piezo ElementsDuraAct patch transducers use kinetic energy for the electrical supply of energy-autarkic systems and can be applied in structural health or condition monitoring.
- Ultrasonic Measurement Technology
- TechnologyPI Ceramic Piezo TechnologyPI Ceramic offers extensive know-how and a wealth of experience in the manufacturing of assembled piezo-ceramic components and sub-systems.
- Fundamentals of Piezo TechnologyFundamentals of Piezo TechnologyPhysical basics and explanations of piezo electricity and electromechanics.
- Properties of Piezo ActuatorsProperties of Piezo ActuatorsCharacteristics of piezoceramic actuators: Displacement modes, forces and stiffnesses, dynamics. Ambient conditions.
- Displacement BehaviorDisplacement BehaviorOn this site you will find information about the displacement behaviour of piezo ceramics.
- Displacement Modes of Piezoelectric ActuatorsDisplacement Modes of Piezoelectric ActuatorsOn this site you will learn more about the different displacement modes of piezo ceramics.
- Temperature DependenceTemperature DependenceThe displacement and dimension of a piezo ceramic is temperature dependant. Learn more about this topic on this site.
- Forces and StiffnessForces and StiffnessForce and stiffness are important properties of piezo actuators. Find out more on this topic here.
- Dynamic OperationDynamic OperationLearn more on the topics of resonant frequency, dynamic forces and response behaviour.
- Electrical Operation of Piezo ActuatorsElectrical Operation of Piezo ActuatorsLearn more on the topics of operating voltage, electrical behaviour and operating modes.
- Ambient ConditionsAmbient ConditionsPiezo actuators are suitable for operation in very different, sometimes extreme ambient conditions. Learn more about this topic on this site.
- Displacement Behavior
- Generating UltrasoundGenerating Ultrasound with Piezo ComponentsPiezo components use the piezoelectric effect to generate and detect ultrasonic waves, e.g. by means of runtime measuring or the principle of the Doppler effect.
- Developing Customized TransducersDeveloping Customized TransducersIn addition to piezo components, PI Ceramic also supplies complete transducers, which are developed together with you according to your application specifications.
- Developing Customized Transducers
- Manufacturing TechnologyManufacturing TechnologyPI Ceramic offers a wide range of manufacturing technologies: Pressing or tape technology, assembling technology and testing procedures.
- PICMA® TechnologyPICMA® TechnologyHighly reliable and extended lifetime through the patented manufacturing process for multilayer actuators.
- DuraAct Patch Transducer TechnologyDuraAct Patch Transducer TechnologyManufacture, functional principle and typical working parameters of DuraAct patch transducers explain the possible force generation and deflection.
- Fundamentals of Piezo Technology
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- CompanyCompany PI Ceramic GmbHPI Ceramic, a subsidiary of Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co. KG, is located in the city of Lederhose, Thuringia, Germany.
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- About PI GroupAbout PI GroupNo other company in the world offers a broader and deeper portfolio of precision motion technologies than the PI Group. Continuous growth through the development of novel products and technologies is one of the main characteristics of the PI Group.
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Piezo actuators are suitable for operation in very different, sometimes extreme ambient conditions. Information on their use at high temperatures of up to 200 °C and in cryogenic environments can be found in the section >> Temperature-Dependent Behavior.
According to Paschen's Law, the breakdown voltage of a gas depends on the product of the pressure p and the electrode gap s. Air has very good insulation values at atmospheric pressure and at very low pressures. The minimum breakdown voltage of 300 V corresponds to a ps product of 1000 Pa mm.
PICMA® stack actuators of nominal voltages of considerably less than 300 V can therefore be operated at any intermediate pressure. In order to prevent breakdowns, PICA piezo actuators with nominal voltages of more than 300 V, however, should not be operated or only be driven at strongly reduced voltages when air is in the pressure range of 100 to 50,000 Pa.
The outgassing behavior depends on the design and construction of the piezo actuators. PICMA® actuators are excellently suited for use in ultrahigh vacuums, since they can be manufactured without polymer components and can be baked out at up to 150 °C. UHV options with minimum outgassing rates are also offered for different PICA actuators.
Piezo actuators are suitable for use in inert gases such as helium, argon, or neon. However, the pressure-dependent flashover resistances of the Paschen curves must be observed here as well.
For this use, the ceramic-insulated PICMA® actuators are recommended, since their nominal voltage is below the minimum breakdown voltages of all inert gases. For PICA actuators of higher nominal voltages, the operating voltage should be decreased in particular pressure ranges to reduce the flashover risk.
Piezo actuators are excellently suited to be used in very high magnetic fields, e.g., even at cryogenic temperatures. PICMA® are manufactured completely without ferromagnetic materials.
PICA stack actuators are optionally available without ferromagnetic components. Residual magnetisms in the range of a few nanotesla have been measured in these products.
Environments with High Humidity
When piezo actuators are operated in dry environments, their lifetime is always higher than in high humidity. When the actuators are operated with high-frequency alternating voltages, they self-heat, thus keeping the local moisture very low.
Continuous operation at high DC voltages in a humid environment can damage piezo actuators. This especially holds true for the actuators of the PICA series, since their active electrodes are only protected by a polymer coating that can be penetrated by humidity.
The actuators of the PICMA® series have an all-ceramic insulation, which considerably improves their >> Lifetime in Humid Ambient Conditions compared with polymer-coated actuators.
Temperature Operating Range
The standard temperature operating range of glued actuators is -20 to 85 °C. Selecting piezo ceramics with high Curie temperatures and suitable adhesives can increase this range. Most PICMA® multilayer products are specified for the extended range of -40 to 150 °C.
With special solders, the temperature range can be increased so that special models of PICMA® actuators can be used between -271 °C and 200 °C, i.e., over a range of almost 500 K.
For use in liquids, encapsulated PICMA® or specially encased PICA actuators are available. With all other actuator types, direct contact with liquids should be avoided. Highly insulating liquids can be exceptions to this rule. Normally, however, the compatibility of the actuators with these liquids must be checked in lifetime tests.
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