Direct Drive Rotation Stages and High Precision Worm Gear Rotary Tables for Ambient and Vacuum


Rotation stages, often called index tables or rotary tables, are mechanisms used to precisely rotate a sample or specimen with high angular accuracy. Motorized rotary stages make use of a motion controller and stepper motor or - when higher performance is required - closed-loop servo motor, position feedback and computer control. Better performance, speed control and higher acceleration is achieved when using a direct-drive rotary table. For test of optics, often rotary air bearings are used, because of their extremely low excentricity and wobble.

PI provides a wide variety of precision rotation stages for high-accuracy and standard precision positioning applications.
Different stage drive concepts, from ironless piezo-motors, air-bearings / torque motors to compact worm-gear rotary positioners with encoded and open-loop stepper-motors to the ultra-low profile, self-locking piezo-motor rotation stages are available in standard and custom designs. Air bearing stages provide extremely accurate motion with minimum wobble and excentricity and are recommended for applcations such as X-ray crystallography.

Piezo-motor-driven stages are self locking at rest, a great advantage when it comes to long term stability and when applications require power to be shut down. The low inertia of the piezo-rotation stages also enables very fast step and settle with minimum overshoot.

In addition to classical worm gear rotation stages for ambient and vacuum environments, goniometer cradles are available, tip/tilt positioners , piezo mirror rotators with fixed center of rotation and even multiaxis parallel positioners such as hexapods with fully programmable center of rotation for three rotary axes.

Miniature and sub-miniature rotary positioners are now available in a variety of sizes, with profiles as low as 7 mm and rotation speeds as high as 1000 deg/sec.

Most positioning systems are also available for vacuum and high vacuum environments.

PDF Brochure: Motorized Ultra High Accuracy Rotation Stage Brochure

The Video shows a High Accuracy, High Velociy Rotary Table with Air Bearings and Absolute Encoder


V-610 Compact, High Speed Direct-Drive Rotary Table with Ironless 3-Phase Motor

 High-Performance Direct Drive Rotation Table
  • Low Profile Rotary Design
  • High Performance with 3-Phase Direct Motor
  • High Angular Speed: 3000deg/sec
  • Direct Metrology Encoder
  • Clear Aperture

This compact closed-loop direct drive rotary table uses a 3-phase motor for maintenance free, frictionless power transmission. It comes in two variations, standard and with holding brake.

Video: Watch General Principle of Direct-Drive 3-Phase Motor Rotary Table

| Fast Direct-Drive Rotary Tables Overview

V-622, V-623 High Performance Direct-Drive Rotary Table with Ironless 3-Phase Motor, for Industrial Applications

 High-Performance Direct Drive Rotation Table
  • High Performancea and Speed with Direct Drive
  • Excellent Geometric Performance Eccentricity and Flatness <1Ám
  • High Angular Speed: 7200deg/sec (120 RPM)
  • Direct Metrology Encoder
  • Clear Aperture

V-62x series direct-drive ball-bearing rotation stages are designed for extreme precision, based on PI's experience with ultra-precise air bearing rotary tables. They provide high stiffness, a long lifetime, and ease of use, and can operate in any orientation. The V-62x stages offer superior performance regarding accuracy, resolution, reppeatability as well as geometric performance such as flatness, and wobble. The ultra-precise deep groove ball bearings are preloaded and lubricated prior to delivery,meaning they are maintenance-free for the whole lifetime of the rotation stage.

Video: Watch V-622, V-623 and V-625 Ball Bearing Rotation Stages in Action

| Fast Direct-Drive Rotary Tables Overview | Datasheet: V-622, V-623 High Performance Direct-Drive Rotaiton Stages with Ball Bearings

Ultra-Low Profile Direct-Drive Rotation Table with Fast Ironless Piezo-Motor

M-660 PILine« 
Rotation Stage

The M-660 / U-651 hich accuracy rotation table is the lowest profile rotary stage with high-speed direct-drive piezoceramic motors on the market.
This ironless drive can move at very slow speeds and accelerate quickly to velocities of 720 degrees/sec. Its directly coupled precision optical encoder resolves positions down to 4 Árad (0.00023░), providing phase-lag-free, backlash-free feedback to the servo controller. The self-clamping ceramic drive provides very high stability, with no energy consumption at rest and no heat generation

M-660s can be built in different sizes or with other specifications, and they are available upon request as vacuum-compatible versions.

The low inertia improves the start/stop behavior and velocity control significantly compared to conventional rotation stages, due to the light-weight direct- drive ceramic motor, operating without gears or magnets. The result is precise bidirectional speed and position control, which is critical for high speed motion contouring. These features make the M-660 outperform the stability, acceleration and settling speed of traditional servo motor direct drives and gear-driven mechanisms.
A special motion controller for piezo motors is available to take full advantage of the specific motion characteristics of ultrasonic ceramic motors. USB interfacing and a solid software and driver package (LabView, Matlab, etc) for seamless integration are also included.

PDF Brochure | Low Profile Rotation Stage with Non-Magnetic Piezo Motor: Specifications / Ordering Info

  • Lowest Profile Direct Drive Stage: Only 14 mm in Height
  • Wide Range of Velocities, up to 720 ░/sec.
  • Ironless Motor
  • Unlimited Travel Range
  • Self-Clamping Ceramic Direct Drive: Energy Saving & High Position Stability
  • Direct Metrology Encoder, up to 4 Árad Resolution
  • Vacuum-Compatible and Non-Magnetic Ultrasonic Motor Working Principle


Two ultrasonic piezo motors driving a circular
ceramic runner in an M-660 rotation stage


Application video of the silent ultrasonic piezo motor rotary stage in a Leica Theodolite and Principle Design of the PILine drive used in the M-660 PILine« rotary stage

U-628 High-Speed Miniature Direct Drive Rotation Table with Piezo Motor: 720 Deg/Sec

 Mini Precision Rotation Stage
  • Ideal for Compact Opto-Mecahnical Set-Ups
  • Very Compact Dimensions (2x2 Inch Footprint)
  • High Speed: 720 deg/sec
  • 35 Árad Encoder Resolution
  • Clear Aperture
  • Continuous Rotation
  • Closed-Loop Direct-Drive Ultrasonic Motor

This miniaturized closed-loop rotary positioner is driven by an ultrasonic direct-drive motor and provides high rotational velocity up to 3 revolutions / second. An optical encoder is integrated for direct position measurement and feedback with 35 Árad resolution.

Video: Ultrasonic Motor Operating Principle

| PDF Brochure | Miniature Rotary Stages Overview and Specs

U-624 / U-622 High Resolution Sub-Miniature Rotation Stage with Fast Ultrasonic Motor

 Mini Precision Rotation Stage
 Mini Precision Rotation Stage
  • As small as ě20x10mm
  • High Speed: 2 Revolutions /sec (120 RPM)
  • 35 Árad Encoder Resolution
  • Ultrasonic Ceramic Motor
  • Vacuum Version Available

This sub-miniature rotation stage is available in vacuum and standard versions. Two sizes are available: ě30x12mm and ě20x10mm. A fast ultrasonic ceramic ring-shaped resonator motor provides high speed to 120 RPM. An optical direct metrology encoder is integrated for position feedback.

Ultrasonic Mini Rotary Stage Operating Principle

PDF Brochure | Specifications / More Information

Ultra-Low Profile Mini Rotation Stages with Stick-Slip Piezo Motors

Ultra-compact Rotation Stage
  • Three Sizes: 14, 22, 32 mm Diameter
  • Vacuum Option
  • Low Profile: From 7 mm.
  • Continuous Rotation Range
  • Piezo-Stick-Slip Motor
  • 45 deg/sec
  • Very High Resolution

Q-motion series miniature rotation stages are driven by inertia-type piezo motors. These miniaturized positoining tables are direct-driven, backlash free and provide micro-radian resolution. The self-locking design requires no holding current and provides excellent long-term stability. Three different diameters are available: 14 mm, 22 mm and 32 mm.

| Mini Rotary Stage with Inertia Motor: Specifications / Ordering Info

Air-Bearing Ultra-High Precision Direct Drive Rotary Tables, Motorized Rotation Stages and Spherical Air Bearings

Air Bearing Rotation Stage Family
620-Series Family of Rotary Air Bearing Stages - mount in any orientation

Low Profile Rotary Air Bearing Stage
Low profile air bearing rotary table, directly driven with 3-phase motor, for horizontal mount

Custom Large Diameter Air Bearing Rotation Stage
Custom 300mm Air Bearing Stage
Read Article Large Air Bearing Rotary Table for Synchrotron Crystallography

  • Highest Precision and Resolution
  • Torque Motor
  • 3 Standard Diameters
  • Up to 900lb (425kg) Payload
  • Eccentricity as low as 0.075 Microns
  • Repeatability better <+/- 4 4Árad
  • Max. Velocity up to 2500RPM

PI's air-bearing rotation stages provide the highest accuracy and smoothest motion of any commercially available rotation stage. With standard and custom designs these stages are designed for reference class applications.

Rotary Air Bearing Stage -Motorized, any Orientation: Specifications / Ordering Info

Rotary Air Bearing Stage -Low Profile, Motorized, Horizontal Mounting : Specifications / Ordering Info

Compact Motorized Air Bearing Stage Video
Spherical air bearing - 3 rotational degrees of freedom. Read Article on Spherical Air Bearings for Zero Gravity Simulation

Large Aperture Direct-Drive Index Table
Large Aperture Direc Drive Rotary Index Table with Air Bearings
These type of large tables are used for precision manufacturing and metrology. More information on
Direct Drive Rotary Tables and Rotation Stages with Air Bearings

Vacuum Compatible Precision Rotation Stage, High Load / Worm Gear

Vacuum Precision Rotation Stage
Air Bearing Rotation Stage
  • High Load Capacity to 50 kg
  • UHV Option
  • Large Aperture
  • High Speed: to 150 deg/sec
  • Continuous Rotation Range
  • Ultra-High Resolution
  • Preloaded Worm Drive for Zero Backlash
  • Servo & Stepper-Motors
  • Direction-Metrology Encoder Option

PRS-200 rotation stages can handle high loads to 50 kg and come with a large aperture for photonics and optics applications. Stepper and servo motors are availabe, direct metrology encoders are optional and a high-vacuum version is also available.

Brochure Vacuum Rotary Stages

Overview: Stepper Motor Rotary Stages with Worm Gear |

Article: Performance of Rotary and Linear Stages with Stepper Motor Drives |

M-06x Precision High-Resolution Rotation Tables / Worm Gear Driven

Precision Rotation Stage, Unlimited Travel Range
  • Three Sizes / Load Ranges
  • Vacuum Option
  • High Speed: to 90 deg/sec
  • Continuous Rotation Range
  • Ultra-High Resolution
  • Preloaded Worm Drive for Zero Backlash
  • ActiveDrive DC-Servo, Stepper-Motor, & Manual Drive Option
  • Direction-Sensing Reference Switch

M-06x series rotation stages are equipped with ultra-precise, ultra-low-friction, spring-preloaded worm gear drives allowing unlimited rotation in either direction. Three different turn-table diameters are available: 60 mm, 100mm and 120mm.

Drive Options: Servo Motor, Stepper Motor and Manual Three motor drives are available: Open-Loop Stepper Drives and two closed-loop servo drives with different resolution / speed rating.

PDF Brochure | Motorized Rotary Stage: Specifications / Ordering Info

M-116 Precision Miniature High-Resolution Rotation Table Compact / Worm Gear Driven

M-116 Precision Rotation Stage
  • Miniature Rotation Stage Combines with M-110 Miniature Translation Stages
  • Clear Aperture
  • 2.5 Árad Encoder Resolution, Repeatability ▒10 Árad
  • Max. Velocity 20 degrees/second
  • Home Switch
  • Continuous Rotation Range
  • Preloaded Worm Drive for Zero Backlash

M-116 rotation stages are equipped with low-friction, spring-preloaded worm gear drives allowing unlimited rotation in either direction in an extremely compact package.

PDF Brochure | Miniature Rotary Stages with Servo/Stepper Motors: Overview

Additional Precision Rotation Stages and Goniometer Cradles from PI miCos

The PI miCos line of goniometers and rotation stages is specialized on miniature stages with different motor drives (belt-drives, worm-gear drives) and also on ultra-high precision stages with torque motors, direct metrology and air bearings. Most stages are available in high vacuum and UHV specification.

  • High Speed Air Bearing Precision Rotation Stages
  • High-Vacuum and UHV-Copmpatible Rotation Stages
  • Ultra-High Precision Closed-Loop Rotation Stages with Torque Motors
  • Compact Rotation Stages
  • Goniometer Cradles
  • Tip/Tilt Stages

Overview / Specifications of PI miCos precision rotary positioners and goniometers

Download the PI miCos Rotation / Goniometer Stage Brochure

M-880 Rotation + XY Stage: Planar 3-Axis Precision Positioner XY-Rot-Z Parallel Kinematics System with Very High Holding Force

Rotation + XY Stage
  • 8░ Rotation around Z and 20x20mm XY Travel
  • ActiveDrive Servo Motors
  • Static Load Capacity to 150 kg
  • Low Profile through Parallel Kinematics
  • Min. Incremental Motion to 0.75Ám
  • Large Clear Aperture
  • Controller Included

This parallel-kinematics 3-axis precision positioning system combines rotation around Z and linear travel in the X and Y axes in a very low profile package.

The extremely low profile of just 105 mm is made possible because all actuators are directly connected to the single moving platform, as opposed to stacking a rotation stage on top of an XY table.

PDF Brochure | XY-Rotary Stage: Specifications / Ordering Info

M-811 Vacuum-Hexapod: 3 x Rotation + XYZ = 6 DOF, High Precision and Very Versatile

Miniature Vacuum-Hexapod
  • Rotation around X, Y, Z + Linear XYZ Motion
  • Vacuum Compatible
  • Specialized 6-D Controller & Software Included
  • Rotation to 40 Degrees
  • Linear Motion Range to 34x32x13 mm
  • Load Capacity to 5 kg
  • Actuator Resolution 40 Nanometers
  • Min. Incremental Motion to 200 Nanometers
  • Repeatability up to ▒ 200 Nanometers
  • Velocity to 10 mm/s

This Hexapod provides 6 degrees of freedom: rotation around 3 axes and 3 linear motions in one compact, vacuum-compatible package. It can handle loads up to 11 lbs (5kg) and move at velocities to 10 mm/sec. The combination of linear motion and rotation angles of 20░ around the X and Y axis and up to 40░ around the vertical axis allows for complex motion profiles with particularly flexible placement of the load - a great advantage in restricted areas (such as beam lines) and small vacuum chambers.

PDF Brochure | Miniature 6-DOF Positioner: Specifications / Ordering Info

P-528 Precision Piezo Z/Tip/Tilt Stage: 2 x Rotation + Z

Precision Piezo Z/Tip/Tilt Stage
  • Z Motion + Two Rotations around the X and Y Axis.
  • Up to 2 mrad Rotation with Nano-Radian Resolution
  • Parallel Kinematics / Metrology for Enhanced Responsiveness & Multi-Axis Precision
  • Frictionless, High-Precision Flexure Guiding System
  • Capacitive Feedback Provides Higher Linearity

P-5x8 series, Z/tip/tilt nanopositioners are open-frame, high-resolution, piezo-driven stages providing Z motion to 240 Ám and rotation around X and Y to 2.4 mrad with resolutions of up to 0.5 nm and 50 nrad. The 66 x 66 mm clear aperture is ideal for transmitted-light applications.

PDF Brochure | Tip/Tilt Stage: Specifications / Ordering Info

Goniometer Cradels: Precision Rotation with a fixed Pivot Point

  • Several Models
  • 10 to 90░ rotation range
  • 2.7 - 50Árad min. inc. motion
  • To 15░/sec max. velocity
  • to 20kg load
  • Direct encoder option

Goniometric cradles are used to rotate samples and objects to a precise angular position. The units here are equipped with precision servo and stepper motors and high-resolution encoders for angular position feedback.

PDF Brochure | Goniometers and Tip/Tilt Stages Overview

S-335 2-Axis Rotational Piezo Mirror Positioner, Fast Steering Mirror with up to 70 mrad Deflection

Miniature Piezo Tip/Tilt-Mirror
  • Coplanar Rotation Axes & Fixed Pivot Point; No More Polarization Rotation
  • Optical Beam Deflection to 70mrad (~ 4░)
  • Resolution to 100 Nano Radians
  • Very Fast: Millisecond Response
  • Closed-loop Position Servo-Control for High Accuracy
  • Frictionless, High-Precision Flexure Guiding System

The S-335 miniature platforms rotate a mirror up to 35 mrad (70 mrad optical deflextion) around the X and Y axes. These fast mirror scanners are based on solid-state piezo drives and a parallel-kinematics flexure guiding system, with two coplanar, orthogonal axes and a fixed pivot point.

| Specifications / Ordering Info

S-340 2-Axis Rotational Piezo Mirror Positioner, Fast Steering Mirror for Optics to 4ö Diameter

Piezo Tip / Tilt-Platform
  • Coplanar Rotation Axes & Fixed Pivot Point; No Polarization Rotation
  • Optical Beam Deflection to 4 mrad
  • Resolution to 20 Nano Radians
  • Excellent Temperature Stability
  • Very Fast: Millisecond Response
  • Closed-loop Position Servo-Control for High Accuracy
  • Frictionless, High-Precision Flexure Guiding System

This piezo platform can rotate a mirror or optic up to 2 mrad (4 mrad optical deflection) around two orthogonal axes. The parallel-kinematic, solid-state piezo drive system guarantees exceptional precision and very fast response in the low millisecond range and below.

PDF Brochure | Request Quote

S-224 Piezo Mirror Tilter: Rotation with 50 Nano-Radian Resolution

High-Speed Miniature Piezo Tilt Mirror
  • Sub-Árad Resolution
  • Sub-Millisecond Response
  • Up to 4.4 mrad Optical Beam Deflection
  • Closed-Loop Versions for Better Linearity
  • Includes BK7 Mirror
  • Zero Friction Flexure Guiding System

S-224/S-226 miniature tilt platforms provide rotation of 2.2 mrad around the Y-axis. They are extremely fast with resonse in the microsecond range. A ě15x4mm BK7 glass mirror is mounted.

PDF Brochure | Specifications / Ordering Info

Two ultrasonic piezo motors driving a circular ceramic runner in an M-660 rotation stage

Ultra-slow motion animation of the PILine« ultrasonic piezo motor. The ceramic tip (pusher) is moving on an pseudo-elliptical trajectory. In reality the tip only moves a few nanometers at frequencies to 100's of kHz.