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Precision tip-tilt-piston actuator that provides exact constraint

United States Patent

November 16, 1999
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - Visit the Industrial Partnerships Office Website
A precision device which can precisely actuate three degrees of freedom of an optic mount, commonly referred to as tip, tilt, and piston. The device consists of three identical flexure mechanisms, an optic mount to be supported and positioned, a structure that supports the flexure mechanisms, and three commercially available linear actuators. The advantages of the precision device is in the arrangement of the constraints offered by the flexure mechanism and not in the particular design of the flexure mechanisms, as other types of mechanisms could be substituted. Each flexure mechanism constrains two degrees of freedom in the plane of the mechanisms and one direction is actuated. All other degrees of freedom are free to move within the range of flexure mechanisms. Typically, three flexure mechanisms are equally spaced in angle about to optic mount and arranged so that each actuated degree of freedom is perpendicular to the plane formed by the optic mount. This arrangement exactly constrains the optic mount and allows arbitrary actuated movement of the plane within the range of the flexure mechanisms. Each flexure mechanism provides a mechanical advantage, typically on the order of 5:1, between the commercially available actuator and the functional point on the optic mount. This improves resolution by the same ratio and stiffness by the square of the ratio.
Hale; Layton C. (Livermore, CA)
The Regents of the University of California (Oakland, CA)
09/ 098,693
June 17, 1998
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.