Design and Fabrication of a Metallic MEMS Gripper Using Electro-Thermal V-Shape and Modified U-Shape Actuators

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This abstract reports on the design, fabrication, and characterization of a distinctive MEMS gripper electro-thermally driven by the new metallic (electroplated nickel) V-shape actuator (VSA) and the modified U-shape actuators (mUSA). The VSA and the two mUSAs with non-perpendicular arms (angle 90°±alpha guarantees desired unidirectional in-plane displacement) are integrated into a joint actuating mechanism in the gripper. This unique configuration allows the generation of larger tip displacement with lower power consumption. Upon actuating the gripper drivers, the gripper opens under the joint mechanical force of the VSA and the thermal buckling force of the two mUSAs. This double actuation mechanism results in larger gripper opening and holding force. MetalMUMPS is employed to fabricate the device. Electroplated nickel is used as structural material. Analytical and FEA results show a good agreement with the actual device measurements. Tests of the gripper and the actuators have shown attractive features. For driving voltage within [0.6-1.0] V, the gripper opens within ±[5.5-173.5] µm. Test results show the VSA displacement stability and linearity under the mechanical load as voltage changes. VSAs and mUSAs can be used in other MEMS devices where large displacement and force are required, such as MEMS switches and manipulators.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Nanotechnology 2011: Electronics, Devices, Fabrication, MEMS, Fluidics and Computational
Published: June 13, 2011
Pages: 353 - 356
Industry sectors: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing | Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: MEMS & NEMS Devices, Modeling & Applications
ISBN: 978-1-4398-7139-3