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Proceedings Paper

Impact of electrode preparation on the bending of asymmetric planar electro-active polymer microstructures
Author(s): Florian M. Weiss; Tino Töpper; Bekim Osmani; Carla Winterhalter; Bert Müller
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Paper Abstract

Compliant electrodes of microstructures have been a research topic for many years because of the increasing interest in consumer electronics, robotics, and medical applications. This interest includes electrically activated polymers (EAP), mainly applied in robotics, lens systems, haptics and foreseen in a variety of medical devices. Here, the electrodes consist of metals such as gold, graphite, conductive polymers or certain composites. The common metal electrodes have been magnetron sputtered, thermally evaporated or prepared using ion implantation. In order to compare the functionality of planar metal electrodes in EAP microstructures, we have investigated the mechanical properties of magnetron sputtered and thermally evaporated electrodes taking advantage of cantilever bending of the asymmetric, rectangular microstructures. We demonstrate that the deflection of the sputtered electrodes is up to 39 % larger than that of thermally evaporated nanometer-thin film on a single silicone film. This difference has even more impact on nanometer-thin, multi-stack, low-voltage EAP actuators. The stiffening effect of many metallic electrode layers is expected to be one of the greatest drawbacks in the multi-stack approaches, which will be even more pronounced if the elastomer layer thickness will be in the sub-micrometer range. Additionally, an improvement in voltage and strain resolution is presented, which is as low as 2 V or 5 × 10-5 above 10 V applied.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 March 2014
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9056, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014, 905607 (26 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045152
Show Author Affiliations
Florian M. Weiss, Univ. Basel (Switzerland)
Empa (Switzerland)
Tino Töpper, Univ. Basel (Switzerland)
Bekim Osmani, Univ. Basel (Switzerland)
Carla Winterhalter, Univ. Basel (Switzerland)
Bert Müller, Univ. Basel (Switzerland)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9056:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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