Filling a major gap in precision control for applications from semiconductor fabrication to manipulations of living cells, researchers have developed a frictionless drive system that provides nanometer precision over millimeters of travel without complicated feedback control.

The electromagnetic drive consists of fixed permanent magnets inside and around a moving wire coil. The coil moves by electromagnetic Lorentz force when a current is applied, with contactless and frictionless motion. The coil is connected to a drive shaft and is held in place by flexible figured steel plates that act as flexure joints. The electromagnetic drive and flexure joints are highly linear in their motion response, resulting in theoretically infinite positioning resolution.