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Proceedings Paper

Light-driven polymer actuator
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Paper Abstract

We describe new light-driven actuator based on films of the polymer polyvinylidene fluoride known as PVDF. The actuator employs the photomechanic effect of 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, converse piezoelectric along with photogalvanic and pyrolelectric, while the thermal mechanism is prevailing. The force applied by the actuator to external objects was 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-micron film illuminated with a 10-mW beam. We demonstrated mechanical oscillations of a 1-mm by 10-mm actuator at a frequency of 0.3 kHz. The frequency could reach 1 MHz and higher for actuators of micron size. The actuators could be easily made of various shapes. Illumination could be in multiple regions of the actuator body with various time delays between laser pulses in different regions. All this can provide a lot of flexibility in terms of the trajectory of mechanical motion. As an example, we demonstrated an actuator with elliptical motion that could drive inner workings of a conventional mechanical alarm clock. The proposed actuator has a potential of being used as a core element of future optical micro- and nanomotors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 October 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5602, Optomechatronic Sensors, Actuators, and Control, (25 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.572452
Show Author Affiliations
Sergey S. Sarkisov, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical Univ. (United States)
Michael J. Curley, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical Univ. (United States)
Aisha Fields, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical Univ. (United States)
Grigory Adamovsky, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5602:
Optomechatronic Sensors, Actuators, and Control
Kee S. Moon, Editor(s)

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