Novel design and sensitivity analysis of displacement measurement system utilizing knife edge diffraction for nanopositioning stages. Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper presents a novel design and sensitivity analysis of a knife edge-based optical displacement sensor that can be embedded with nanopositioning stages. The measurement system consists of a laser, two knife edge locations, two photodetectors, and axillary optics components in a simple configuration. The knife edge is installed on the stage parallel to its moving direction and two separated laser beams are incident on knife edges. While the stage is in motion, the direct transverse and diffracted light at each knife edge is superposed producing interference at the detector. The interference is measured with two photodetectors in a differential amplification configuration. The performance of the proposed sensor was mathematically modeled, and the effect of the optical and mechanical parameters, wavelength, beam diameter, distances from laser to knife edge to photodetector, and knife edge topography, on sensor outputs was investigated to obtain a novel analytical method to predict linearity and sensitivity. From the model, all parameters except for the beam diameter have a significant influence on measurement range and sensitivity of the proposed sensing system. To validate the model, two types of knife edges with different edge topography were used for the experiment. By utilizing a shorter wavelength, smaller sensor distance and higher edge quality increased measurement sensitivity can be obtained. The model was experimentally validated and the results showed a good agreement with the theoretically estimated results. This sensor is expected to be easily implemented into nanopositioning stage applications at a low cost and mathematical model introduced here can be used for design and performance estimation of the knife edge-based sensor as a tool.

published proceedings

  • Rev Sci Instrum

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, C., Lee, S., & Tarbutton, J. A.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Lee, ChaBum||Lee, Sun-Kyu||Tarbutton, Joshua A

publication date

  • September 2014