Electro-thermal micro actuators that operate by virtue of constrained thermal expansion induced by Joule heating, have recently received considerable attention. We use electro-thermal actuation to create monolithic compliant devices with embedded actuation in which the actuator and the mechanism are indistinguishable. These devices can be made at micro (micron size) or meso (hundreds of microns to a millimeter size) scales using any conducting material. In this paper, we examine the scaling effects on these devices, and also present a comparative study of essential and natural boundary conditions used in the thermal analysis. The experimental data and the results of comprehensive analysis that includes conduction through the substrate and the air-gaps; convection; and radiation, are used to make some observations that are generally applicable to electro-thermal-compliant micro devices.
Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: Technical Proceedings of the 2000 International Conference on Modeling and Simulation of Microsystems
Published: March 27, 2000
Pages: 609 - 612
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topicss: Chemical, Physical & Bio-Sensors, MEMS & NEMS Devices, Modeling & Applications