News » 2000 » Kyocera'’s Ultrasonic XY-Stage Honored Among “10 Best New Products”


Kyocera'’s Ultrasonic XY-Stage Honored Among “10 Best New Products”

KYOTO, JAPAN -- (Feb. 3, 2000) -- The Nikkan Kogyo newspaper has selected Kyocera’s new Ultrasonic XY-Stage as a winner of its 42nd Annual “10 Best New Products” Award.

The “10 Best New Products Award” is given annually to 10 rigorously evaluated new products that were developed and put on the market during the prior year. The award recognizes products on the basis of their technical excellence, likely impact on society, and future potential. It is presently among the most prestigious awards of its kind in Japan.

Kyocera’s Ultrasonic XY-Stage was acclaimed as a breakthrough that overcomes several obstacles confronting the semiconductor industry in producing the next generation of advanced Integrated Circuit (IC) chips. In addition, Kyocera’s Ultrasonic XY-Stage offers the potential to expand the possibilities of many other high-tech fields by facilitating improvements in ultra-fine processing methods.

On the occasion of our receiving this honor, we at Kyocera wish to reaffirm our commitment to research, development and the commercialization of promising new technologies that will provide our customers with superior products of high added value.

(Original product announcement):

Kyocera Announces Two New XY-Stages
Using Ultrasonic Motors

KYOTO, JAPAN -- November 22, 1999 -- Kyocera Corporation (President: Yasuo Nishiguchi) has perfected a new type of XY-Stage that is capable of operating at an unprecedented range of speeds through the use of a Kyocera-developed ultrasonic motor. Kyocera will produce two versions of this XY-stage, with sales planned to begin in April 2000.

The two versions include an ultra-low-speed model (10 nanometers per second) for precision/resolution exceeding 1 nanometer (nm); and a high-speed model (200mm per second or higher). In addition to offering a broader range of speeds, Kyocera’s new XY-Stage products boast a compact and simple design thanks to their use of ultrasonic motors.


Ultra-Low-Speed Drive Type:
* Micro-machine manufacturing equipment
* Surface analysis equipment
* Next-generation high-density data storage

High-Speed Drive Type:
* Electron beam plotters
* Length measuring SEM systems
* Scanning electron microscopes
* Defect inspection/correction equipment

Kyocera has long employed advanced ceramic in X-Y Stages due to the material's high rigidity and minimal thermal expansion characteristics. These stages have been used in Kyocera's highly accurate positioning systems, which are marketed commercially.

In the field of semiconductor manufacturing, demand is growing for ultra-thin-line accuracy on the level of 0.18 to 0.13µm. Since these systems tend to be employed in severe environments, such as vacuum or plasma chambers, the stability of ceramic materials and the structural reliability of the system as a whole are key considerations.

Kyocera possesses many years of expertise in the tribology (study of friction) of ceramics, as well as piezoelectric technology, precision processing technology, control technology, and analysis technology. The new XY-stages represent the crystallization of the company's knowledge in all of these fields.

Kyocera plans to continue expanding its line of stage systems to meet the increasingly diverse market requirements for these products.

Each of Kyocera's newly developed XY-stage systems incorporates an ultrasonic motor, which uses piezoelectric properties to drive advanced ceramic materials. A control system was also developed for these products to provide optimal system performance.

The operating principle of the XY-stage is as follows. The vibration modes of two types of piezoelectric elements are combined using the difference in potential between two applied voltages. This combined vibration is conveyed to ceramic chips at the tip of the piezoelectric elements and controlled to create an elliptical locus. The vibration of the ceramic chips is further conveyed to a ceramic guide mounted on the stage, causing the stage to move.

The amplitude of the vibration can be altered according to the frequency of the voltage applied to the piezoelectric elements. By controlling the vibration in this way it is possible to develop a practical system.

When designing its new XY-stage systems, Kyocera determined the frequencies that would produce the optimum maximum and minimum amplitudes, developed a method for controlling the piezoelectric properties of the elements, and devised a unique design and structure for the piezoelectric elements.


1. Ultra-Low-Speed Drive Type
In joint research by Kyocera and Professor Yoshiaki Tomikawa of the Faculty of Engineering of Yamagata University, an ultrasonic motor was developed that is capable of extremely high resolution on the order of 1 nm or better -- a feat unattainable with conventional ultrasonic motors. The new ultrasonic motor also supports an ultra-low-speed drive of 10 nm/sec. A low-frequency voltage is applied to the ultrasonic motor's piezoelectric elements, and low-speed drive is made possible due to the small amplitude of the vibration of these elements. The development of the control portion of the system was performed by Tokyo Technology Corporation (headquarters: Tokyo; President: Satoshi Okudera). The system is being marketed jointly by Tokyo Technology and Kyocera.

The main applications for the new system include the manufacture of micro-machines as well as measurement and analysis of finely processed items.

2. High-Speed Drive Type
Another ultrasonic motor with capabilities exceeding those of conventional units was developed through joint research by Kyocera and Professor Sadayuki Ueba of the Precision Engineering Laboratory of the Tokyo Institute of Technology. This new ultrasonic motor is capable of operating in a speed range exceeding 200 mm/sec., which places it at the forefront of the industry.

In this ultrasonic motor, the piezoelectric elements are sandwiched between blocks of metal. A voltage at a frequency equivalent to the resonance frequency of the entire system is applied, thereby amplifying the vibration of the piezoelectric elements and making high-speed drive possible.* At the same time, the system achieves positioning accuracy of ±0.1µm.

This stage system is indispensable for the charge beam devices required in the ultra-fine-line processing of LSI devices employing rules between 0.18 and 0.13µm.


1. Unprecedented Compactness
Conventional stages using solenoid motors unavoidably produce magnetic fields. To prevent this from adversely affecting the operation of the system, it is necessary to mount the drive source externally. This results in systems that are large and complex. By incorporating a non-magnetic ultrasonic motor in the system, the overall size is reduced significantly.

2. High Positioning Accuracy
Since the ultrasonic motor drives the stage directly, positioning is quicker and more accurate than with conventional ball-screw systems.

3. Ceramic Materials Provide Superior Reliability
The optimal design for the highly precise drive of the ultrasonic XY-Stage was developed through joint research between Kyocera and Professor Yasushi Kato of the Engineering Faculty of Tohoku University. Specifically, the design optimization included the fine ceramic finger chips and guide rails, the rail material, and the control method employed. This well-researched design ensures that the system will provide reliable performance over the long term.


Ultra-low-speed Drive Type
Speed: 10 nm/sec. (min.)
Positioning accuracy: 10 nm or less
Positioning resolution: 1 nm or less
Stroke: User selectable

High-speed Drive Type
Speed: 200 mm/sec. or higher
Speed variation: 1%
Positioning accuracy: ±0.1µm
Stroke: User selectable

*Resonance: A phenomenon in which the amplification ratio becomes extremely large near the point where the external vibration frequency and the system's specific vibration frequency match.


Kyocera Industrial Ceramics Corporation
Natick, MA Office
Tel: 508-651-3922

Kyocera Corporation, Fine Ceramics Division
Tel: (075) 604-3430