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A piezo‐actuated locking stage is described, which minimizes stage mechanical vibrations relative to the column in a nanometer electron beam lithography system capable of using large 5‐in. diameter substrates. The performance of the piezo locking stage is compared to the performance of a laser position servo system with a resolution of about 5 nm. The measurements show that mechanically locking the stage with respect to the objective lens is far more effective than the servo loop in suppressing mechanical vibrations. With the stage locked, total beam position noise with respect to the substrate has been measured as 2.5‐nm peak‐to‐peak compared to 10‐nm peak‐to‐peak total noise for the servo loop within a bandwidth of 0.25 to 200 Hz. A more detailed analysis of the beam position noise shows that the piezo locking stage reduces the noise component which is caused by mechanical vibrations to 0.4‐nm rms.