- Products & Systems
(May 9th 2023, Arvada, CO, USA) ALIO Industries recognizes the challenges associated with testing micro-LED chips, and maintains that precision stages can be a crucial tool in the testing process as they provide the precise positioning and motion control necessary to achieve accuracy and repeatability.
A micro-LED chip is a type of light-emitting diode that is significantly smaller than traditional LEDs, and can be used in a variety of applications, including displays, lighting, and sensing.
One of the main advantages of micro-LEDs is their high brightness and efficiency. They can emit a lot of light using a relatively small amount of power, which makes them energy-efficient and long-lasting. Additionally, micro-LEDs can be used to create highly customizable displays with excellent color accuracy and contrast.
However, micro-LED technology is still relatively new and can be expensive to produce compared to traditional LED technology. Moreover, the testing and manufacturing of micro-LEDs require highly precise equipment and processes due to their small size, which can be a challenge for manufacturers.
Bill Hennessey, President of ALIO picks up the story. “As the micro-LED market gears up for mass production, the focus is shifting to the two major challenges that slow down commercialization — low yield and high cost. Since the chip size of micro LEDs can be as small as a single micron, existing inspection equipment is often inadequate in many respects. Many standard tools simply don’t provide high enough resolution. Moreover, with the smaller pixel sizes, there is also a dramatic rise in the number of pixels that need to be processed during inspection. Test technologies are therefore emerging such as electroluminescence (EL) which is able to identify a great number of defects.”
EL testing is a non-destructive method of testing micro-LEDs and other semiconductor devices, which involves passing a small electrical current through the device, which causes it to emit light. The emitted light can then be measured and analyzed to determine the quality and performance of the device.
EL testing is particularly useful for testing micro-LEDs because it allows for the detection of defects and performance issues that may not be visible using other testing methods. For example, EL testing can detect small defects in the micro-LED structure that may be invisible to the naked eye, such as dislocations or disclinations. Additionally, EL testing can provide information about the uniformity of the device’s emission and the distribution of current within the device.
The EL testing process requires physical probing of the electrical contacts on the micro-LED chips, which must be done with extremely high precision to avoid damage to the devices.
The smaller pixel sizes of micro-LEDs mean that there is a significant increase in the number of pixels that need to be processed during inspection, which makes high-throughput inspection a major challenge. Precision motion control solutions can help to optimize the speed and efficiency of the testing process, enabling rapid and accurate movement of the testing equipment and reducing the time and cost associated with testing large numbers of micro-LED chips.
“ALIO has decades of experience delivering highly repeatable stages with unrivalled point precision®, reaching the “point of interest” in testing within a few nanometers ensuring micro-LED chips don’t get damaged during the EL test,” Hennessey continues. “We offer several motion control technologies that are suitable for testing micro-LEDs. For example, there is the Hybrid Hexapod®, a parallel kinematic motion control system that provides six degrees of freedom with sub-micron precision and repeatability. This technology is ideal for micro-LED testing applications requiring high precision, accuracy, and speed. The Hybrid Hexapod® combines rotary and linear motion to provide a large range of motion and high load capacity, making it suitable for testing large numbers of micro-LEDs simultaneously.”
Also, there are ALIO’s Air Bearing Stages, linear motion control systems that provide frictionless motion with high precision and accuracy. This technology is suitable for micro-LED testing applications that require high-speed and accurate motion control. Air bearing stages are capable of achieving nanometer-level positioning accuracy and repeatability, making them ideal for testing micro-LEDs with high resolution and accuracy.
See the array of motion control options that are available for micro-LED inspection from ALIO HERE, or specific requirements can be plugged into the company’s PRODUCT CONFIGURATOR to see the most suitable motion control solutions.
NANO Z® patented Z-lift air bearing stages overcome the legacy design issues associated with z-wedges and other vertical stages. They use a novel combination of air-bearings plus two voice coil motors in a compact footprint with up to 50mm travel.
Using air bearings means negligible friction which enables unparalleled accuracy and repeatability down to low double-digit nanometers. Variable counterbalancing easily handles heavy weights like wafer chucks, while still achieving nano-level precision over the full travel range.
The Nano Z® design places vertical force in line with the payload, and this makes it possible to place the stage directly below the payload instead of beside it, avoiding inevitable cantilever inaccuracies and nearly eliminating pitch, yaw and roll.
Dimensions and specification can be found in following data sheet:
ALIO’s GeoSymmetric™ Vertical Positioning Stages use voice coil or linear direct drives, high precision crossed roller bearings, and various counterbalance options within a unique and innovative design concept.
Unique geometric shapes provide mounting surfaces on multiple faces of the stage for flexible installation options. Being able to mount the payload directly to the face or top surface of the stage helps to eliminate weakness and resonant frequency issues associated with additional brackets.
The “Symmetric” part of the family’s name originates from the arrangement of the components used. The counterbalance, motor, bearings, and encoder are all placed on an approximate centerline of the stage, i.e. they are integrated in a way that their masses are symmetrically distributed over the stage.
This series of stages has been built for precision with application dependent counterbalances, and has been structurally designed to exceed application performance demands (with bidirectional repeatability down to +/-45nm, travels from 6 to 70mm, and load capacities of up to 30kg). Being 4x to 10x more precise than Z-wedge stages makes ALIO’s GeoSymmetric™ Vertical Positioning Stages great for any application within the semiconductor industry, microscopes for life and health science, or numerous metrology applications.
Explore our many options with a closer look at the relevant data sheets:
Pneumatic Counterbalanced Z: AI-(MOTOR)-(TRAVEL)00-(FORCE)-Z-CB
High-Force Pneumatic Counterbalanced Z: AI-(MOTOR)-(TRAVEL)00-(FORCE)N-Z-CB
Magnetic Spring Counterbalanced Z, Voice Coil: AI-(MOTOR)-(TRAVEL)00-(PAYLOAD)-Z-MCB-(ORIENTATION)
Mini Z with user-swappable Spring Counterbalanced Z: AI-(MOTOR)-(TRAVEL)00-Z-SCB
ALIO’s family of linear motor driven, vertical Z-lift stages are characterized by their low profile and extremely long travel ranges. Using high precision crossed roller bearings and linear encoders, the stages are equipped with magnetic spring counterbalances or a frictionless air bearing pneumatic cylinder. Similar to the GeoSymmetric series of stages, these long travel Z stages have counterbalance, motor, bearings, and encoder all placed on an approximate centerline of the stage. Payloads may be mounted directly to the face of the stage.
The Z-MCB versions with magnetic spring counterbalances allow travel between 25 and 170mm, while the Z-ABCB — with its frictionless air bearing pneumatic cylinder counterbalance — can carry payloads of up to 25kg over 200mm or more.
Magnetic Spring Counterbalanced Z, Linear Drive; AI-LM-(TRAVEL)00-Z-MCB-(MAX PAYLOAD)
Extra Long Travel Z: AI-LM-(TRAVEL)00-(PAYLOAD)-Z-MCB-BASE
A broad field of applications from industrial automation to large measurement or metrology tools demand enormous lift capabilities while still achieving nanometer precision. For such applications, ALIO offers vertical Z stages with precision ball screws driven by a frameless torque motor that is equipped with pneumatic release spring engage brakes that lift 20kg without additional counterbalance. For even higher loads, this series offers the so-called “pneumatic boost” option which uses a frictionless pneumatic counterbalance to boost the payload capability to 50kg.
Even with such high loads, these stages can achieve +/- 100 nm bi-directional repeatability over ranges of up to 50mm. This makes it the ideal stage for applications requiring high loads and long travel ranges without compromising precision.
More information on precision, accuracy and motion profile specifications:
When looking at most imaging applications, optimal focus of the image can only be achieved if the distance between the sample and the optics is adjustable. Typically, a Z-axis focusing stage would be used for such applications with either the sample or the optics being moved along the optical axis. The specifics of the application, the optics, and the sample will ultimately determine the range of motion required, with some examples where additional focus travel is needed being:
• For thick or non-planar samples such as tissue samples or cultured cells
• For non-parfocal objectives each of which have a different focus spacing
• Where there are multiple sample types such as microscope slides or microtiter plates
• When it is necessary to retract the optics during a load/unload operation
Some other advanced microscopy applications require that a series of images are acquired, each separated by a small increment along the Z-axis, such advanced focus control being needed to create 3D sample images.
For all such exacting applications, ALIO’s direct drive focus stage technology is up to the challenge:
Z Focusing Stage: AI-VC-600-SCB-ATRAK
ALIO Industries’ linear X stages are the ideal choice for precision applications, as they are commonly used in the precision industry due to their reliability and performance. The family of stages offers a wide range of travel options from 30mm to 300mm by utilizing two types of linear direct drives: the “LM” and the “CM” series.
The “LM” series provides greater force, higher acceleration, greater speed, and supports payloads of up to 50kg, while the “CM” series offers a low-profile design for tools and applications with space constraints, without compromising precision. ALIO’s linear motion systems and linear X stages are the perfect choice for applications that require precision and reliability.
For more information please download and analyze the following datasheets:
ALIO Industries offers enclosed, monolithic XY stages that are suitable for ultra-precise applications. These stages feature direct linear drives and high-precision crossed roller bearings built into a compact 3-plate system. With nanometer straightness and flatness, as well as optimized orthogonality, the point precision is True Nano®. Standard travel ranges are from 30mm up to 400mm, and stages can be built for high vacuum or clean room applications if needed.
The bi-directional repeatability of these stages is only +/- 30nm, making them suitable for scanning applications requiring a smooth, continuous movement, or for fast step and settle processes when high output is required. The enclosed, monolithic XY stages are available in two series – the standard LM-series and the low-profile CM-series.
For more information, download the datasheets available on our website.
To download datasheets, look for:
Enclosed Monolithic XY: AI-LM-(TRAVEL)00-XY
ALIO Industries produces open-centered, monolithic XY stages with large apertures for accessibility from all sides. These stages use powerful direct linear drives and high-precision crossed roller bearings in a 3-plate system to achieve outstanding precision. With a bi-directional repeatability of just +/- 50nm, superior straightness and flatness, and optimized orthogonality, ALIO’s open-centered XY stages offer Nano Precision® with travel ranges of 30mm to 400mm. The stages are perfect for scanning applications requiring smooth, continuous movement and fast step and settle processes, and increase throughput substantially. They can be built for high vacuum or clean room applications. ALIO’s open-centered XY stages are available in standard LM-series or the more compact CM-Series. Download datasheets on our website.
Open-Centered Monolithic XY: AI-LM-(TRAVEL)00-(THRU)E-XY
Low-profile Open-Centered Monolithic XY: AI-CM-(TRAVEL)00E-(THRU)-XY
If you need a low-profile solution to avoid space constraints, require different travels in X and Y, and can’t compromise on performance and precision, there are hardly any off-the-shelf products on the market. ALIO’s asymmetrical, monolithic XY stages are unique in the market and can help solve this complex combination of motion requirements.
With linear direct drives, ultra-precise crossed roller bearings, and our 3-plate system, we guarantee highly precise and powerful motion, as well as perfect orthogonality of the X and Y axes in respect to each other.
“Asymmetrical” in this design concept refers to the two different travel ranges of these two stages that are usually achieved by mounting different linear X stages on top of each other.
For further information, contact us or download the following specification sheets:
Asymmetrical, Monolithic XY: AI-LM-(TRAVEL_X)x(TRAVEL_Y)-XY
Asymmetrical, Monolithic XY: AI-SLM-(TRAVEL_X)x(TRAVEL_Y)-XY
ALIO’s precision ball-screw driven X stages are perfect for applications that require precision despite electrical noise. These stages are driven by a torque motor that moves a precision ball screw with an anti-backlash nut, and they can be equipped with pneumatic or electric solenoid brakes if necessary.
Thanks to ALIO’s unique design and manufacturing principles, these stages achieve a bi-directional repeatability of only +/- 100nm, with straightness and flatness well below 5µm (and on request even 1µm can be maintained).
Off-the-shelf versions are available for travels of 30mm, 100mm, 150mm, and 200mm, and can be realized for ambient, high vacuum, and clean room conditions.
For more information on these stages, please refer to the following datasheet:
Linear X with Precision Ball Screw:_AI-VBS-(TRAVEL)00-(BRAKE OPTION)
ALIO has introduced the Micron 2 (µII) motion systems family to compete in the micron-level motion control market. These systems are designed to offer low-cost, mid-precision, reliable, and long-travel stages. As with all ALIO’s products, the Micron 2 (µII) systems are designed with the company’s “quality first” standards, ensuring long-term reliable operation.
The Micron 2 (µII) recirculating ball rail bearing stages come in standard sizes of 100mm up to 2 meters, making them suitable for a wide variety of applications. This family of motion systems is robust and powerful, designed for use either as a stand-alone unit or as a top axis of an integrated solution.
For more details, visit the dedicated Micron 2 (µII) motion systems page.
At ALIO Industries, we believe that traditional hexapods will soon become obsolete. . That’s why we’ve developed the Hybrid Hexapod®, a patented and revolutionary approach to six-degree-of-freedom (6-DOF) positioning that delivers nanometer-level accuracy at any working point.
Our innovative modular design features a tripod with non-contact linear driven motors and linear encoders, offering any rotary- and Z-motion capabilities on a monolithic XY basis. Unlike traditional hexapods, the Hybrid Hexapod® boasts a unique stiffness, enabling us to avoid common problems associated with screw-driven Stewart platforms, such as pitch errors, backlash, and friction.
With our design, you can move in X or Y with just one axis, tip or tilt with just three legs of the tripod, and rotate around the Z-axis by adding a 360-degree rotary stage in the middle of the tripod. These features, along with many other specific details, make the Hybrid Hexapod® an ideal solution for any application requiring 6-DOF positioning with nanometer/arc-sec levels of incremental motion and repeatability.
If you’re looking for a unique design that can simplify your six-dimensional motion while drastically increasing your working cubic volume, turn to the Hybrid Hexapod® from ALIO Industries. To learn more about our standard configurations and what they can achieve, check out our comprehensive datasheet.
Standard Hybrid Hexapod: AI-HH-(XY TRAVEL)XY-(Z TRAVEL)Z-(R DIAMETER)R-(OPTION)
Looking for a compact yet high-performing solution for your six degrees of freedom (6-DOF) positioning needs? Look no further than the MINI Hybrid Hexapod® from ALIO Industries.
Despite its small size, the MINI Hybrid Hexapod® offers an impressive 54,000 mm2 working volume (60x60x15mm) and can be scaled to match your required working volume with options such as brakes, gear reduction, ball screw drive, and linear motor drive. This flexibility makes it an ideal solution for automated lens alignment or bonding processes, camera array modules, translational OIS, telescopic integrated lenses, and miniature camera products like cell phone cameras and drones.
When you need nanometer/arc-sec levels of incremental motion and repeatability, the MINI Hybrid Hexapod® delivers the performance you need with the compact size you want. To learn more about our detailed specifications, download our comprehensive datasheet today. Choose ALIO Industries for your 6-DOF positioning needs with one of our range of robotic hexapod solutions.
Find out more by downloading the detailed specifications:
Miniature Hybrid Hexapod: AI-HH-(XY TRAVEL)XY-(Z TRAVEL)Z-(R DIAMETER)RT-(OPTION)
The AngularesTM Hybrid Hexapod® from ALIO Industries offers the widest angular travel range of any 6-Degree-Of-Freedom (6-DOF) positioner on the market, with 60-degree tip/tilt travel. This new hexapod approach features precision crossed roller bearing guides, optical incremental or absolute encoder feedback on all axes, linear motor and/or servo ball screw drives, unlimited programmable tool center point locations, and zero backlash on all axes.
With unlimited XY travel, Z travel of 62 mm (expandable to 208 mm using other tripod models), and continuous 360 degree Theta-Z, the AngularesTM offers unmatched positioning performance. It delivers XYZ bidirectional repeatability of less than +/- 100nm, velocity up to 100 mm/second XY and Z, and less than 10 nanometers linear and 0.1 arc-seconds angular minimum incremental motion.
The AngularesTM is ideal for various applications such as aspheric and freeform optical metrology, silicon photonics packaging and probing, laser micro processing, wafer metrology, camera module alignment and assembly, and optical element and fiber alignment.
Download data sheets to learn more about the AngularesTM Hybrid Hexapod® from ALIO Industries.
AngularesTM – Extra large Tip/Tilt: AI-HH-30D-(XY TRAVEL)XY-(Z TRAVEL)Z-(R DIAMETER)R
ALIO’s modular and versatile Hybrid Hexapod® concept allows various adaptions and customization to align with your application requirements. These can range from applications with several dozens of kg load and high force requirements, to totally novel designs with large apertures. Some requirements have been so commonly requested that we decided to standardize them and make them available to all our customers. See specific details below:
High Torque Hybrid Hexapod: AI-HH-(XY TRAVEL)XY-(Z TRAVEL)Z-(R DIAMETER)RGR
High Load Hybrid Hexapod: AI-6D-(XY TRAVEL)XY-(R DIAMETER)R-(Z TRAVEL)Z-(OPTION)
Ball Screw Driven Hybrid Hexapod: AI-HH-BSD-(XY TRAVEL)XY-(Z TRAVEL)Z-(R DIAMETER)R-(OPTION)
Stepper-Motor based Hybrid Hexapod: AI-HH-ST14-(XY TRAVEL)XY-(Z TRAVEL)Z-(R DIAMETER)R-(OPTION)