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Proceedings Paper

Smart mesoscopic photomechanical positioner/actuator, sensor, and all-optical logic unit
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Paper Abstract

Light can interact with a material and change the physical dimensions of the material through several mechanisms: photothermal, electrostriction, molecular reorientation, electronic cloud deformation and Cis-Trans isomerization. In the photothermal mechanism light, upon entering a material, is partially absorbed causing a temperature increase and through thermal expansion an increase in size. Electrostriction causes a net force in the material toward regions of higher light intensity which in a pliable material can result in a dimensional change. Molecular reorientation causes anisotropic molecules in a material to experience an alignment force which can lead to a dimensional change. Electronic cloud deformation can result in a dimensional change due to change in nucleon positions due to changes in the materials electronic structure that results from the light's electric field in the material. Molecules that can undergo a Cis-Trans isomerization in the presence of light have the potential to change the shape of any object because of the forces applied to the material. In this paper we will discuss one method by which the photothermal photomechanical effect can be utilized for device fabrication. The basic device, which we call a Mesoscopic Photomechanical Unit (MPU), can be utilized as a positioner/actuator, sensor, and all-optical logic unit.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 May 1996
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 2722, Smart Structures and Materials 1996: Smart Electronics and MEMS, (20 May 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.240453
Show Author Affiliations
David J. Welker, Sentel Technologies (United States)
Mark G. Kuzyk, Washington State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2722:
Smart Structures and Materials 1996: Smart Electronics and MEMS
Vijay K. Varadan; Paul J. McWhorter, Editor(s)

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