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Actuation for MEMS, improved.

Micro-actuators are important devices that function as switches in electronic and mechanical devices. Increasingly, these actuators are called upon to serve a switching function in micro-electromechanical (MEMS) devices for optical switches, probe-based data storage and microscale energy harvesting. Traditional electromagnetic and piezoelectric actuators are either challenging to integrate in MEMS devices or offer limited stroke and force capacity. High Performance Electrostatic Comb-drive Micro-Actuators developed by the Univ. of Michigan make use of fundamentally new flexure mechanisms for actuator guidance, which mitigates sideways instability in electrostatic comb-drive actuators. This produces three times greater single-directional stroke and five times greater bi-directional stroke compared previous comb-drive actuators. It also preserves the small footprint (8 [mm.sup.2]), bandwidth (~400 Hz), actuation force (0.3 mN) and low-cost photolithography fabrication methods associated with this type of actuator.

* Univ. of Michigan,

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Title Annotation:Mechanical Systems: R&D 100
Publication:R & D
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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