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Advanced metal matrix composite (MMC) materials combine a metal and at least another part, such as a ceramic, to form a material with enhanced mechanical properties compared to traditional materials. An aluminium silicon carbide metal matrix material is investigated for compliant flexure design for nanopositioning systems. The material is up to 60% stiffer than traditional aluminum alloy with little to no increase in density. It is shown that the dynamic response of flexure-guided stages can be more easily tailored using the MMC. A flexure-based nanopositioner is designed to exhibit low cross-coupling behavior at high frequencies using the MMC. Finite element analysis (FEA) is used to guide the design process, and a prototype stage is created and evaluated. The measured dynamic response agrees with the FEA modeling; particularly, by using the MMC the actuation mode of the stage can be designed to occur before the out-of-plane modes. The improvement in performance of using the MMC outweighs the disadvantages that include increase cost of the material and lower manufacturability compared to traditional aluminum alloys. The stage is characterized to demonstrate the advantages of the material.
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