Product News: Sensors, Monitors & Transducers

Capacitive Displacement Sensor offers 50 picometer precision.

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Press Release Summary:

March 13, 2014 - Designed to measure position/displacement, Elite Series CPL490 offers resolution of less than 7 ppm, even at 15 kHz bandwidth. Unit can resolve target position changes of less than 100 picometers while objects are moving at 15 kHz. When bandwidth is increased to 50 kHz, precision is still less than 0.3 nm. Sensor features bar graph display indicating probe position within its calibrated range and adjustable offset to zero output. Linearity is less than 0.2% and error band is less than 0.3%.

Original Press Release

World's Most Precise Capacitive Displacement Sensor Now Available

Press release date: March 4, 2014

St. Paul, MN USA -- Lion Precision’s CPL490 Capacitive Displacement Sensor measures position/displacement with 50 picometer precision or less. Relative to the noncontact sensor’s measurement range, that translates to a resolution value of less then seven parts-per-million even at 15 kHz bandwidth. “We are now able to measure changes in an object’s position when it moves less than the diameter of one of the molecules in the object,” says Don Martin, Lion Precision president. Previous models were capable of similar precision but only when high frequency components were filtered out of the measurement signal. The CPL490 can resolve target position changes of less then 100 picometers while objects are moving at 15 kHz. When bandwidth is increased to 50 kHz, a remarkably high frequency for capacitive sensors, the precision is still less than 0.3 nanometers.

Engineers, designers, and researchers needing incredibly precise measurements of changes in position of a moving object now have the tool they have been waiting for. High density hard-disk drives require spindles that turn with near zero amounts of error motion (wobble). Martin elaborates, “Disk drive spindles have gotten so good, it was difficult to measure the error with existing technology, but the industry demands ever higher rotary precision to continue packing more data on a disk.” Previous technology was incapable of seeing the tiny movements when the spindles were turning at operating speeds. The CPL490 has now opened a viewing window into the dynamic nano world enabling spindle manufacturers and designers to take the next step in precision. Many other industries including semiconductor and electron microscopy require measurement of position with similarly increasing precision. “Some new technologies can’t take the next step until they are given the ability to quantify these tiny movements. We are now able to provide that,” adds Martin.

The CPL490 is a new capacitive sensor module in Lion Precision’s Elite Series product line. For ease of setup, the device features a bar graph display indicating probe position within its calibrated range and an adjustable offset to “zero” the output . Bandwidth is selectable allowing the user to maximize the relationship between bandwidth and resolution for each application. The Elite Series is a modular system also offering signal processing and other capacitive sensor modules.

CPL490 Specifications (dependent on probe and range selection):
Output: ±10 VDC, single-ended or differential
Typical Resolution at 15 kHz: 0.0007%
Maximum Bandwidth: 50 kHz
Selectable Bandwidth: 1 kHz, 10 kHz, 15 kHz, 50 kHz
Linearity: <>
Error Band: <>
Maximum Drift: <0.02%>

More detail on the CPL490 is available on its web page:

In 1958, Lion Precision was the first company to provide capacitive displacement sensors to industry. The company has expanded its product offering to include eddy-current displacement sensors and some application specific sensors for the machine tool, packaging and PCB industries. The company is built on assisting users with sensor selection and implementation by providing technical knowledge resources, expert guidance and optimized systems including custom designs. Lion Precision provides high-performance noncontact sensors and experts to help use them. 

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