The Advantages of Using a Piezoelectric Actuator with a Voice Coil Motor


Introduction to Piezoelectric Actuators and Voice Coil Motors

In the field of mechatronics, the combination of various technologies often leads to innovative solutions for precise motion control applications. One such combination that has gained significant attention is pairing a piezoelectric actuator with a voice coil motor. This dynamic duo offers several advantages over traditional actuation methods, making them a preferred choice for a wide range of applications. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using a piezoelectric actuator with a voice coil motor, shedding light on their incredible capabilities.

Understanding Piezoelectric Actuators

Piezoelectric actuators are electromechanical devices that convert electrical signals into mechanical motion. They take advantage of the piezoelectric effect, which occurs in specific materials that generate an electric charge when subjected to mechanical stress. This unique characteristic allows piezoelectric actuators to offer high precision, fast response times, and excellent force-to-size ratios. Additionally, they can provide nanometer-scale resolution and high-frequency operation, making them ideal for applications requiring ultra-precise positioning and control.

Exploring Voice Coil Motors

Voice coil motors (VCMs), also known as linear actuators, are electromagnetic devices that generate motion based on the Lorentz force principle. They consist of a permanent magnet and a coil that moves within the magnetic field. When an electrical current flows through the coil, a force is generated, propelling the actuator in a linear motion. VCMs are renowned for their high acceleration capabilities, low power consumption, direct drive design, and exceptional controllability. They find extensive use in applications such as autofocus camera lenses, hard disk drives, and precision linear stages.

Synergy of a Piezoelectric Actuator and a Voice Coil Motor

By combining the advantages of both piezoelectric actuators and voice coil motors, engineers can achieve unprecedented levels of performance in motion control systems. These two actuation technologies complement each other, addressing the limitations of individual systems while enhancing overall functionality. The piezoelectric actuator compensates for the low force output of the voice coil motor through its high-force capabilities, while the voice coil motor provides fast dynamic response and smooth motion amplification to the more delicate piezoelectric actuator.

Advantages of the Combined System

1. Enhanced Precision: The piezoelectric actuator's ability to provide nanoscale resolution combined with the high acceleration capabilities of the voice coil motor allows for highly precise positioning and motion control. This advantage makes the combined system suitable for applications requiring exceptional accuracy, such as semiconductor manufacturing, microscopy, and optical positioning systems.

2. Extended Travel Range: While piezoelectric actuators offer sub-micrometer travel ranges, they often fall short when it comes to larger displacements. By leveraging the voice coil motor's long-range motion capabilities, the combined system overcomes this limitation, giving engineers the flexibility to achieve both micro and macro movements within a single mechanism.

3. Increased Bandwidth: The dynamic nature of voice coil motors enables high-speed operation compared to traditional motor technologies. By incorporating a piezoelectric actuator alongside the voice coil motor, the combined system benefits from the fast response times and high-frequency capabilities, leading to increased overall bandwidth.

4. Lower Power Consumption: Piezoelectric actuators are known for their energy efficiency, requiring minimal power to generate motion. When paired with a voice coil motor, which also has low power requirements, the combined system offers an economical solution with reduced power consumption and increased overall system efficiency.

5. Versatility and Adaptability: The combined piezoelectric actuator and voice coil motor system can be easily integrated into a wide range of applications due to their compact size, lightweight nature, and flexibility. Whether it's for precise positioning, active damping, vibration control, or force-feedback systems, this combination exhibits remarkable adaptability and versatility.


The synergistic combination of piezoelectric actuators with voice coil motors brings a plethora of advantages to the world of motion control. From improved precision and extended travel range to increased bandwidth and energy efficiency, this dynamic duo offers engineers unprecedented control over their applications. The applications of this powerful combination are vast, ranging from semiconductor manufacturing and microscopy to precision assembly robots and optical systems. As technology continues to evolve, the integration of piezoelectric actuators with voice coil motors will undoubtedly revolutionize the field of motion control, paving the way for even more advanced and transformative applications.


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