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Although air-core linear permanent-magnet (PM) synchronous motors are widely used in precision applications because of their advantages such as fast dynamics, lack of detent force, and negligible iron loss, they basically suffer from low developed thrust, thrust ripple, and excessive use of permanent-magnet materials, all of which lead to undesirable performance and high production cost. In this paper, we analyze performance characteristics of an air-core linear PM synchronous motor by varying motor design parameters in a layer model and a d-q model of the machine. We propose a multiobjective design optimization to improve thrust, thrust ripple, and consumed magnet volume independently and simultaneously by defining a flexible objective function. A genetic algorithm is employed to search for optimal designs. The results confirm that desirable thrust mean and substantial reduction in magnet volume and thrust ripple can be achieved. We draw several design conclusions from the motor analysis and design optimization. Finally, we carry out a time-stepping finite-element analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of the machine models and the optimization method.