Shear piezoelectric motors frequently require large voltage changes on very short time scales. Since piezos behave electrically as capacitors, this requires a drive circuit capable of quickly sourcing or sinking a large amount of current at high voltages. Here we describe a novel circuit design using a high voltage amplifier, transistor switching stage, and auxiliary capacitor. This circuit can drive piezoelectric motors at higher speeds and lower costs than conventional methods and with greater flexibility for computer automation. We illustrate its application in a controller for a scanning tunneling microscope coarse approach mechanism and discuss other possible applications and modifications of this circuit.
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