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Newsletter September 2019
“The Minus K unit performed magnificently, surpassing my best expectations..."
More customer comments...

- How They Work>>Negative-Stiffness Vibration Isolators

- Featured Product: BM-6 Bench Top Vibration Isolation Platform

Custom Vibration Isolation Systems

- Audio Reproduction & Turntable Vibration Isolation

- Microscopy Vibration Isolation

- 300 leading universities and private and government laboratories
in 51 countries use Minus K technology

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How They Work>>Negative-Stiffness Vibration Isolators

Minus K® vibration isolators employ a revolutionary concept in low-frequency vibration isolation. Vertical-motion isolation is provided by a stiff spring that supports a weight load, combined with a negative-stiffness mechanism (NSM). The net vertical stiffness is made very low without affecting the static load-supporting capability of the spring. Beam-columns connected in series with the vertical-motion isolator provide horizontal-motion isolation. The horizontal stiffness of the beam-columns is reduced by the "beam-column" effect. (A beam-column behaves as a spring combined with an NSM.) The result is a compact passive isolator capable of very low vertical and horizontal natural frequencies and very high internal structural frequencies.

Figure 1

  Minus K® isolators typically use three isolators stacked in series:
A tilt-motion isolator on top of a horizontal-motion isolator on top of a vertical-motion isolator. A vertical-motion isolator is shown in
Figure 1. It uses a conventional spring connected to an NSM consisting of two flexures connected at their inner ends to the spring and supported at their outer ends, and loaded in compression by forces P. The spring is compressed by weight W to the operating position of the isolator, as shown in Figure 1. The stiffness of the isolator is K=KS-KN where KS is the spring stiffness and KN is the magnitude of a negative stiffness which is a function of the design of the flexures and the load P. The isolator stiffness can be made to approach zero while the spring supports the weight W.

A horizontal-motion isolation system consisting of two beam-column isolators is shown in Figure 2. Each isolator behaves like two fixed-free beam columns loaded axially by a weight load W. Without the weight load the beam-columns have horizontal stiffness KS. With the weight load the lateral bending stiffness is reduced by the "beam-column" effect. This behavior is equivalent to a horizontal spring combined with an NSM so that the horizontal stiffness is K=KS-KN, and KN is the magnitude of the beam-column effect. Horizontal stiffness can be made to approach zero by loading the beam-columns to approach their critical buckling load.

Figure 2

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Featured Product: BM-6 Bench Top Vibration Isolation Platform

  • Vertical and horizontal frequencies are weight dependent.
  • The vertical frequency of 2.5 Hz and horizontal frequency of 1.5 Hz are achieved at the upper limit of the payload range.
  • At the lower limits of the payload range, the vertical frequency is approximately 3.4 Hz and the horizontal frequency is approximately 2.5 Hz.

The bench top platform offers better performance than a full size air table in a package only 4.6 inches tall, and without air!

This vibration isolation platform reaches a new price point and is extremely easy to use. It offers a 1.5 Hz horizontal natural frequency and a 2.5 Hz vertical natural frequency. There is only one adjustment. There is no need for air or electricity.

This is the thinnest, most portable, and most user-friendly isolator ever offered at this level of performance per dollar.perfect for new generations of small SPM's that require the highest performance in a very compact system.

Pricing & Specifications

Custom Vibration Isolation Systems

Minus K engineers can design a variety of custom vibration isolation systems. Frequently these are modifications of other designs such as changing the load capacity of an SM-1 isolator, or the capacity, size and isolator locations on a FP-1.

Custom table top with four resessed Minus K CM-1s and pedestals

Some other custom modifications and capabilities include:

  • Different vertical, horizontal or tilt stiffness in an isolator
  • Different vertical, horizontal or tilt damping in an isolator
  • Vacuum compatibility
  • Mildly magnetic
  • Heavy load capacities (Six 10,000 lb isolators for NASA's James Webb
    Space Telescope Ground Testing
  • Large displacements
  • Large temperature variations
  • Compact systems (e.g., a seven-inch cubic 1/2 Hz isolator for a 700 lb payload;
    a six-inch diameter by 4-inches tall 1/2 Hz vibration isolation platform for a 3 lb payload.)
  • Vertical auto-adjust feature to automatically adjust for change in payload weight.
  • Lock-unlock feature implemented manually with a switch or automatically
    with signals, from a stage motion control system, for example.

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Audio Reproduction & Turntable Vibration Isolation
Platforms, Tables, & Integrated Systems

Since the early 2000s, Minus K Technology, the developer of Negative-Stiffness vibration isolation, has released several vibration isolation platforms for the high-end audio market. These products have been accepted with high acclaim by audiophiles and audio system manufacturers worldwide.

The industry's highest performing vibration isolation system is available in a cost-effective, low-height platform. The BM-8 Series vibration isolation platform offers true ½-Hz isolation performance vertical and 1.5 Hz horizontal and is easy to use. No air or electric power is required, there is no maintenance and nothing to wear out. It is 18Wx20Dx4.6H and is available with nominal load capacities from 25 to 250 lbs. It is ideal for turntables, CD transports and other audio components.

The Helix One® and Helix Two® turntables from Dohmann Audio, for example, come fully integrated with Negative-Stiffness vibration isolation.

Doehmann Helix 1 (BM-8 fully integrated)

Doehmann Helix 2 (BM-10 fully integrated)

“The ability of Negative-Stiffness to deal with vibration and resonance is unsurpassed, and allows the music to be enjoyed with an outstanding level of realism.

Analog audiophile aficionados talk about blackberry notes, where the base is too prominent and muddy, explained Dohmann. This is often caused by a reinjection of vibration into the playback mechanism, adding to the amplitude of the needle movement and creating more signal that what is physically in the groove. But Negative-Stiffness vibration isolation cleans this up, so that the base is more natural. The timbre of the instrument used to produce the base, whether a string, piano or drum, sounds more like the real thing. It enables a sense of peace and calm to the playback."

  - Mark Döhmann, Founder Döhmann Audio

The latest generation of Negative-Stiffness vibration isolation technology, embodied within the new ultra-thin, low-hieght Minus K CT-1, truly represents a significant advance in sound quality in a very compact package for high-end audio perfectionists.

SAT (Swedish Analog Technologies) XD1 Record Player
System with Minus K CT-1 [integrated into the platform]

“I have now tried the CT-1 with the SAT top platform the results are spectacular! I took a look at the mechanism inside of the CT-1 and I have to say I am very impressed with the ingenious work you have done. It provides most of its big brothers performance in an extremely compact package that looks very slick. The arrangement and the finish of the mechanism is an engineers dream and it should be proudly displayed. The equipment supported by the CT-1 is well isolated from vibrations from 0.7 to 100 Hz, with much deeper, clearer base and more information in the lower frequencies. The CT-1 makes a huge difference in sound quality."
  - Marc Gomez, President / Swedish Analog Technologies SAT
The BM-1 Series platform offers Minus K's signature 0.5 Hz performance, both vertical and horizontal, and is available for larger and much heavier audio components.

The BM-10 Series offers smaller horzontal dementions at 12.2 W x 12.2 D x 4.6 H (310mm W x 310mm D x 117mm H).

More images, plus reviews and testimonials...

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Microscopy Vibration Isolation
Tables, Platforms, Benchtops & Custom Systems for

Zeiss Axio Obersver Z1 AFM
on a Minus K BM-8

Delong LVEM5 Desktop SEM
on a Minus K BM-8

Nion STEM on a four-isolator
Minus K FP-1

NanoMagnetics ezAFM
on a Minus K 50BM-4

Many of our clients' microscopes have nano and micro vibration isolation requirements that are unparalleled in the metrology world (for brain research and at NASA as examples). Minus K's negative stiffness and "passive" verses "active" technology, enables microscopes to achieve their highest level of performance. Our isolators and custom systems provide the performance of an ideal bungee system and the convenience of a bench top system without any of the problems associated with many of them, including air tables.

From the ubiquitous bungee suspension systems, to large beds of sand on inner tubes, there have been many attempts at achieving the ultimate isolation. Air tables have been used with some success. However, our negative-stiffness isolators provide superior isolation control and performance while offering better ease of use and no facility requirements. We even have the flexibility of custom tailoring resonant frequencies vertically, horizontally and in tilt to your liking.

Small "active" systems (as opposed to our "passive" systems) are sometimes used. However, those have several drawbacks:
  • They are expensive and fragile.
  • They are subject to the noise floor of every component in the entire feedback loop plus AC line noise.
  • They have a limited dynamic range, typically only a few thousandths of an inch. If this is exceeded (very easy to do) the isolator goes into positive feedback and you have a very expensive noise generator underneath your SPM.
  • They have to be sitting on an infinitely rigid structure to work at their theoretical best. Obviously, infinitely rigid structures are not easy to find in most labs. The result is that the isolator is not always doing what you think it's doing.
Our isolators give you the best possible performance in all axes, from high to low frequency isolation. They provide the performance of an ideal bungee system and the convenience of a bench top system without any of the problems associated with any of them, including air tables. We enable our users to achieve the highest level of noise performance possible.

More images...

Microscope isolation testimonials...

Minus K Customers:
With users at more than 300 leading universities and private and government laboratories in 51 countries, Vibration Isolation News is designed to keep our customers and friends up to date on the latest products and applications designed to facilitate better measurements and improved nanomanufacturing. We are an OEM supplier to leading manufacturers of scanning probe microscopes, micro-hardness testers and other sensitive instruments.

Past newsletters and topics...
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The MK52

NASA Telescope Project

How Our Isolators Work

Spacecraft Vibration Isolation On the Ground

Minus K Technology Inc., Vibration Isolation Systems
460 Hindry Ave., Unit C | Inglewood, CA 90301 | Tel: 310-348-9656 | Contact Us | www.MinusK.com