Micro-electro-thermo-magnetic Actuators for MEMS Applications
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This research focuses on developing new techniques and designs for highly con- trollable microactuating systems with large force-stroke outputs. A fixed-fixed mi- crobeam is the actuating element in the introduced techniques. Either buckling of a microbridge by thermal stress, lateral deflection of a microbridge by electro- magnetic force, or combined effects of both can be employed for microactuation. The proposed method here is MicroElectroThermoMagnetic Actuation (METMA), which uses the combined techniques of electrical or electro-thermal driving of a mi- crobridge in the presence of a magnetic field. The electrically controllable magnetic field actuates and controls the electrically or electrothermally driven microstruc- tures. METMA provides control with two electrical inputs, the currents driving the microbridge and the current driving the external magnetic field. This method enables a more controllable actuating system. Different designs of microactuators have been implemented by using MEMS Pro as the design software and MUMPs as the standard MEMS fabrication technology. In these designs, a variety of out-of- plane buckling or displacement of fixed-fixed microbeams have been developed and employed as the actuating elements. This paper also introduces a novel actuating technique for larger displacements that uses a two-layer buckling microbridge actu- ated by METMA. Heat transfer principles are applied to investigate temperature distribution in a microbeam, electrothermal heating, and the resulting thermoelas- tic effects. Furthermore, a method for driving microactuators by applying powerful electrical pulses is proposed. The integrated electromagnetic and electrothermal microactuation technique is also studied. A clamped-clamped microbeam carry- ing electrical current has been modeled and simulated in ANSYS. The simulations include electrothermal, thermoelastic, electromagnetic, and electrothermomagnetic effects. The contributions are highlighted, the results are discussed, the research and design limitations are reported, and future works are proposed.