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Investigation of vertical displacement thermal actuators

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Title: Investigation of vertical displacement thermal actuators
Author: Dhaubanjar, Naresh; Rao, Smitha M. N.; Hsu, Lun-Chen; Luquire, Matthew; Popa, Dan; Chiao, Mu; Stephanou, Harry; Chiao, J.-C.
Subject Keywords Thermal actuator, out-of-plane actuator, bi-directional actuation
Issue Date: 2006
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2011-11-09
Publisher Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Citation: Naresh Dhaubanjar, Smitha M. N. Rao, Hsu Lun-Chen, Matthew Luquire, Dan Popa, Mu Chiao, Harry Stephanou and J.- C. Chiao, "Investigation of vertical displacement thermal actuators", Proc. SPIE 6414, 641420 (2006); doi:10.1117/12.695958
Abstract: In this paper, we present design, modeling, fabrication, testing techniques and experimental verification for a bi-directional thermal actuator. The actuation principle is based on the asymmetrical thermal expansion of pseudo-bimorph microstructures due to the difference in the electrical resistance of two stacked poly-silicon layers. Bi-directional actuation is achieved depending upon the application of currents on either the top or bottom layers. Various designs were fabricated using the commercial foundry process PolyMUMPS and characterized with a reflective microscope and an optical profiler. Previous demonstrated designs had a limited vertical displacement due to the mechanical limitation imposed by the flexural lengths of the actuator arms. We proposed a new design allowing an increase of the maximum displacement by 85% with the same input voltage of 7V. The flexure arm is incorporated in the top silicon layer such that the torsion forces on the flexural arms are minimized. This enables larger deflection of the actuator arm without significant increase in the temperature. Different device configurations have been designed and tested. The temperature distributions on the actuator arms and displacements of the actuators at various conditions were analyzed using finite-element analysis and verified experimentally. We will discuss the design configuration, testing techniques and practical issues. The potential applications of the out-of-plane actuators include flow sensors, variable capacitors, resistive sensors, optical switches and RF switches. Copyright 2006 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.
Affiliation: Mechanical Engineering, Dept of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/38908
Peer Review Status: Reviewed
Scholarly Level: Faculty

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