Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Timothy Nam Chang

Second Advisor

Andrew Ulrich Meyer

Third Advisor

Richard A. Haddad

Fourth Advisor

Edwin Hou

Fifth Advisor

Zhiming Ji


Due to the increasing demands of high-density semiconductors, molecular biology, optoelectronics, and MEMS/NEMS in the past decades, control of ultra-high precision positioning using piezoelectricity has become an important area because of its high displacement resolution, wide bandwidth, low power consumption, and potential low cost. However, the relatively small displacement range limits its application. This work proposed a practical ultra-high precision piezoelectric positioning system with a complementary high displacement range actuation technology. Solenoids are low cost, high speed electromagnetic actuators which are commonly used in on-off mode only because of the inherent high nonlinear force-stroke characteristics and unipolar forces (push/pull) generated by the magnetic fields. In this work, an integrated positioning system based on a monolithic piezoelectric positioner and a set of push-pull dual solenoid actuators is designed for high speed and high precision positioning applications. The overall resolution can be sub-nanometer while the moving range is in millimeters, a three order of magnitude increase from using piezoelectric positioner alone.

The dynamic models of the dual solenoid actuator and piezoelectric nanopositioner are derived. The main challenge of designing such positioning systems is to maintain the accuracy and stability in the presence of un-modeled dynamics, plant variations, and parasitic nonlinearities, specifically in this work, the friction and forcestroke nonlinearities of the dual solenoid actuator, and the friction, hysteresis and coupling effects of piezoelectric actuator, which are impossible to be modeled accurately and even time-varying. A model reference design approach is presented to attenuate linear as well as nonlinear uncertainties, with a fixed order controller augmenting a reference model that embeds the nominal dynamics of the plant. To improve transient characteristics, a Variable Model Reference Zero Vibration (VMRZV) control is also proposed to stabilize the system and attenuate the adverse effect of parasitic nonlinearities of micro-/nano- positioning actuators and command-induced vibrations. The speed of the ultra-high precision system with VMRZV control can also be quantitatively adjusted by systematically varying the reference model. This novel control method improves the robustness and performance significantly. Preliminary experimental data on dual solenoid system confirm the feasibility of the proposed method.