MBE Components, Programmable Manipulator Control Unit PMCU


Programmable Manipulator Control Unit


PMCU with handheld
Programmable Manipulator Control Unit PMCU with handheld
  • Precise control of substrate rotation,  substrate lift position (height) and angular position

  • Manual operation or remote operation per analog signal or serial interface


The Programmable Manipulator Control Unit PMCU allows the operation of two (or three) independent stepper motors to run a substrate manipulator of a vacuum deposition system (MBE).

The first motor (LIFT) controls the height position of the substrate precisely which is needed to position the substrate within the MBE system. Well defined substrate height positions are deposition position and sample transfer position.

The second motor (ROTATION) (see figure on the right) rotates the substrate permanently during the deposition process or allows an angular positioning of the substrate for surface analysis (RHEED, Ellipsometrie, etc.) and substrate transfer.

As future option a third motor (SHUTTER) drives the substrate shutter between open and close position or even allows setting of any angular position in between, optionally. This option may be used for partial deposition of the substrate (shadow mask etc.).

Manipulator top part
Top part of a manipulator with two integrated stepper motors

The PMCU is operated by the touch screen on the front panel of the controller housing and additionally by the HANDHELD (see figure on the right). The touch screen provides access to all operation modes as well as to a setup mode while the handheld allows control of many internal parameters which allows motor control while watching the substrate manipulator at the MBE system. A special operation mode (analog MCU-compatibility-Mode) provides the control of the substrate rotation by using an analog voltage from the EPISOFT-Controller to give full compatibility to the old style MCU unit.

An integrated serial interface (RS485) allows the control of most functions from an external computer.

The PMCU control unit is designed to fit into a standard 19” rack. The height of the front panel is 3 Units (135 mm). Its horizontal size is half width which offers space in the second half for another implement. The PMCU requires an installation depth of about 450 mm within the rack, including space for connectors.

PMCU handheld

PMCU handheld



The use of the PMCU is recommended for all of our substrate manipulators, e.g. SH 200-4G50.