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  1. The incredible world of nano positioning

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    Queensgate Instruments, an Elektron Technology brand, specialize in creating nano positioning and sensing solutions for high-technology industries, with variants suitable for precision measurement in UHV, radiation environments and cryogenic temperatures.

    (L) Nanosensors – NXE-2, (R) Tip Tilt Stage – NPS.

    Positioning control

    With data and processing demands increasing year on year, there is a constant drive to make technology ever smaller. This presents new challenges for manufacture and inspection requiring nanometre-level accuracies.

    In most fields of engineering, working to micrometre accuracy is considered to be the standard, with typical high-quality bearings having a tolerance to within hundreds or even tens of microns. As pioneers in nanopositioning, Queensgate engineers and scientists are now working at hundreds or even tens of picometres, an incredible million times smaller. For comparison, an atom is around one to five-hundred picometres in diameter and a human hair is 100,000,000 picometres across.

    Queensgate Instruments has delivered world-leading, nano-positioning systems for more than three decades. Our nano mechanisms are piezo-driven with integrated capacitive sensors used to provide positional accuracy.

    A nano-positioning stage is flexure-guided to provide good directional stability and mechanical resistance to roll, pitch and yaw. When ranges in the hundreds of microns are required, mechanical amplification of the motion is usually applied. Flexures minimize frictions which allows sub-nanometre resolution control. The use of flexures prevents mechanical stick slip, therefore they are used instead of slide ways and bearings.

    Positioning solutions

    In the nano-scale, environmental changes can have significant effects on the nano-positioner performance. Choice of material is therefore important. The use of low-thermal-expansion Super Invar in the stage construction helps to improve positional stability over standard aluminium or stainless steel.

    The range of applications for nano-positioning technology is increasing rapidly. Applications that require measurement and control at sub-nanometre levels include microscopy, laser-beam steering, semiconductor manufacture, precision machining, hard-drive testing, physics experiments, specimen manipulation etc.

    The demand for smaller and smaller measurement and control is growing rapidly.

    Queensgate specialize in offering product solutions to meet individual customer requirements.

    Our engineers, scientists and manufacturing experts provide the best solution for challenging problems. We can advise on the best use of standard products and are specialists in delivering custom systems. Products are engineered to last, with many systems in continuous operation in excess of 20 years. Queensgate offer a number of products, including flexure-guided stages, closed-loop actuators, nano-position sensors as well as high-quality control electronics.

    If you have a positioning application where you require a nano-positioning solution, please contact us.


  2. {subarticle 1}

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    Queensgate Instruments, an Elektron Technology brand, specialise in creating nanopostioning and sensing solutions for high technology industries with variants suitable for precision measurement in UVAC, radiation environments and cryogenic temperatures.



    This is an advertising feature comprising content supplied by the vendor.

  3. {subarticle 1}

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    Queensgate Instruments, an Elektron Technology brand, specialise in creating nanopostioning and sensing solutions for high technology industries with variants suitable for precision measurement in UVAC, radiation environments and cryogenic temperatures.



    This is an advertising feature comprising content supplied by the vendor.

  4. Physicists dream of supersized collider

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    Bigger and better With the Beijing Electron Positron Collider expected to retire in 2022, physicists in China are planning the country’s next big thing. (IHEP)

    Particle physicists in China have been awarded ¥36m ($5m) to carry out preliminary research for what would be the world’s largest particle accelerator – the Circular Electron Positron Collider (CEPC). The money, from China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, will be used to develop key technologies as well as decide a site for the collider. The CEPC international advisory committee is expected to meet in November to begin drumming up support from other countries to get involved.

    The Chinese particle-physics community has, for the last few years, been seeking a successor to the Beijing Electron Positron Collider, which is expected to retire in 2022. After the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in 2012, researchers settled on the idea of a 50–100 km-circumference collider. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of High-Energy Physics got together 480 scientists from 128 institutes in 17 countries to write the preliminary conceptual design report for the CEPC, which was published in two volumes in early 2015.

    The design calls for the CEPC to operate at 240 GeV as a “Higgs factory” generating lots of Higgs bosons so that its mass can be precisely measured. Physicists hope to eventually upgrade the CEPC to a super ­proton–proton collider (SPPC), operating in the 70–100 TeV energy range. Yuanning Gao – a particle physicist at Tsinghua University in Beijing who chairs the committee of representatives from all of the Chinese participating institutions – says that researchers will require additional funding to work on a conceptual design report as well as on technical and engineering designs. Scientists would need support from the country’s National Development and Reform Commission, which could come during the 14th five-year plan period that runs from 2020 to 2024.

    If that does happen then construction of the collider could begin in the mid-2020s, with the size dependent on how much money is available. Construction is estimated to be ¥25–30bn, with a collider with a smaller circumference costing less but limiting the future potential of the SPPC.

    Cindy Hao

  5. Special report: China

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    Welcome to this Physics World special report on physics in China, which reveals some of the challenges and opportunities facing physicists in the world’s most populous country. Physics World is published by the UK’s Institute of Physics (IOP), which was founded in 1874 and now has more than 50,000 members around the world. IOP is also one of the world’s leading physics publishers, producing more than 70 journals as well as ebooks, magazines, conference proceedings and websites (see We published our first special report on China in 2011 but so much is going on that we felt that it is time for another. If you have any comments on the issue, please e-mail us at

    Matin Durrani and Michael Banks, Physics World

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