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Optical Engineering

Light-driven actuators based on polymer films
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Paper Abstract

We describe new light-driven actuators based on films of polymer polyvinylidene fluoride, known as PVDF. The actuators employ the photomechanic bending of the polymer film caused by low-power (10 mW and less) laser radiation. The photomechanic effect combines various physical mechanisms, such as thermal expansion, the converse piezoelectric mechanism, and the photovoltaic and pyroelectric mechanisms, while the mechanism of thermal expansion is dominant. The force applied by the actuators to external objects is measured with a torsion balance. It is proportional to the power of laser beam and could be as high as 10–4 N for a 50-µm film illuminated with a 10-mW laser beam. We demonstrate mechanical vibrations of a 1×7-mm strip actuator at a frequency of 0.3 kHz. As examples of possible applications, a photonic switch and an actuator with a closed-loop motion that could drive the inner workings of a conventional mechanical clock were demonstrated. The proposed actuators have a potential of being used as propulsion components of future light-driven micro/nano systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Opt. Eng. 45(3) 034302 doi: 10.1117/1.2185093
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 45, Issue 3
Show Author Affiliations
Sergey S. Sarkisov, SSS Optical Technologies, LLC (United States)
Michael J. Curley, Alabama A&M Univ. (United States)
LaQuieta Huey, Alabama A&M Univ. (United States)
Aisha B. Fields, Alabama A&M Univ. (United States)
Sergey S. Sarkisov II, The Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)
Grigory Adamovsky, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)

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