Motion Control – Case Study: Custom Linear Modules – Lithography Masking!

Motion Control – Custom Linear Modules

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Woburn, MA –Motion Control Components Ball Screws – Case Study –
Multi-Axis Motion for Lithography Masking


A leading supplier of laser processing equipment to the semiconductor industry wanted a next generation masking system for extreme UV lithography. The customer approached Steinmeyer with a demanding set of requirements. The motion system needed flexibility to provide fine adjustment during processing and coarse movement into a service position outside the optical path. Travel of 160mm was required in the horizontal axis and 50mm in the vertical axis, with speeds up to 50mm/sec and repeatability of better than 2 microns. The mask also needed to tilt as much as 1.5 degrees around the optical axis. Finally, the dry nitrogen atmosphere and strict boundaries on contamination levels made the choice of materials and lubricants challenging.


Steinmeyer Mechatronik, a division of Steinmeyer, designed an innovative multi-drive configuration. It features stainless steel, 12 x 5 preloaded ball screws. Two vertical drives enable both translation and tilt. A stage supporting both vertical drives moves the mask horizontally. The mask frame with the associated pivot points are magnetically preloaded, which enables easy service plus backlash-free tilt. Further, the motor encoder assembly is easily detachable for quick servicing.

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Special design elements regarding coatings and ball screw lubricants were also incorporated to address demands unique to this application. An eUV absorbent coating was applied on all internal surfaces to minimize signal scattering. Also, a highly specialized lubricant was selected. This PFPE oil is chemically stable under eUV exposure while exhibiting extremely low outgassing. It is also thermally stable, nonflammable, and insoluble in water, acids, bases, and most organic solvents.


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The Result

The customer completed the full acceptance testing of the system. They are thrilled by the combination of coarse and fine movement in one mechanism. Plus, the system greatly speeds their process of mask testing.

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About Steinmeyer

Steinmeyer is the world’s longest continuously-operating manufacturer of commercial ball screws. In the realm of linear motion control, our company has become synonymous with precision, innovation, and exacting standards of quality.

Steinmeyer’s extensive product line is used widely in drive systems for industrial machines as well as precision positioning in optical instruments, medical devices, and other mechatronic applications.

Contact Steinmeyer for further information on their extensive product portfolio:



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Other Interesting Case Studies from Steinmeyer:

For the Case Study “Wearable Pumps” CLICK HERE

For the Case Study “Pipetting” CLICK HERE

See this and other Motion Control Ball Screws, Stages, Technology Notes, and Custom Steinmeyer Mechatronik Division Components featured on:

Steinmeyer Ball Screw Blog


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