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Proceedings Paper

Investigation of vertical displacement thermal actuators
Author(s): Naresh Dhaubanjar; Smitha M. N. Rao; Hsu Lun-Chen; Matthew Luquire; Dan Popa; Mu Chiao; Harry Stephanou; J.- C. Chiao
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Paper 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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 January 2007
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6414, Smart Structures, Devices, and Systems III, 641420 (8 January 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.695958
Show Author Affiliations
Naresh Dhaubanjar, The Univ. of Texas at Arlington (United States)
Smitha M. N. Rao, The Univ. of Texas at Arlington (United States)
Hsu Lun-Chen, The Univ. of Texas at Arlington (United States)
Matthew Luquire, The Univ. of Texas at Arlington (United States)
Dan Popa, The Univ. of Texas at Arlington (United States)
Mu Chiao, The Univ. of British Columbia (Canada)
Harry Stephanou, The Univ. of Texas at Arlington (United States)
J.- C. Chiao, The Univ. of Texas at Arlington (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6414:
Smart Structures, Devices, and Systems III
Said F. Al-Sarawi, Editor(s)

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