Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Precision bonding makes tiny high performance actuators possible

04.10.2005


Using a new precision bonding process they developed, Penn State researchers have designed and fabricated tiny new piezoelectric microactuators -- the largest only a hair’s breadth wide -- based on coupling commercially available materials with existing micromachining technology.


Some possible applications of the new Penn State piezoelectric microactuator



The new actuators promise to be low cost, and capable of providing controlled force, high resolution and large displacements appropriate for applications in RF switches for cell phones, for example, or optical switches for wide screen TVs. Other potential applications include microfluidic pumps and valves, micromanipulators for nanoscale handling and atomic force microscope drives.

Dr. Srinivas A. Tadigadapa, associate professor of electrical engineering and a developer of the bonding process and microactuator, says, "These new piezoelectric microactuators are the first realized using microfabrication methods, a mature technology used to make computer chips and micromachines from silicon-based materials. Our new low temperature wafer bonding techniques, which make the actuators possible, can also be used for precision integration of dissimilar materials in other micro-electro-mechanical systems."


The new actuators and bonding process are described in a paper, Fabrication and performance of a flextensional microactuator, which appears in the current online edition of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering (JMM). The paper will also be featured in the October print version of JMM.

The authors are Jongpil Cheong, who earned his doctorate at Penn State this year, Abhijat Goyal, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, Dr. Tadigadapa and Dr. Christopher D. Rahn, professor of mechanical engineering.

The new actuators are made from flat strips of bulk PZT, a commercially available piezoelectric material that shrinks slightly when a voltage is applied to it, and a precision micromachined silicon beam. Bonding the silicon beam to the PZT amplifies and converts the PZT shape change into a convex deflection when the silicon beam buckles as the PZT shrinks.

In operation in the actuator, the measured deflection of the silicon beam shows a gain factor of 20 with respect to the PZT dimensional change.

For the bonding process in fabricating the new actuators, the Penn State researchers use photolithography and low temperature solders to produce the distinctive bridge shape they need.

Dr. Tadigadapa notes, "The PZT depoles if you heat it too high. Therefore, the temperature is crucial. A low temperature solder bonding process at 200 C was used in this work."

Using their new approach, the researchers have fabricated actuators with dimensions ranging from 350 to 600 microns in length, 50 to 100 microns (about the width of a human hair) in width, and 5 to 6 microns in thickness.

In tests, the actuators showed good repeatability with a large amplitude stroke of about 8 microns when actuated using -100V to 100V. The bandwidth of the actuator was measured at 265 KHz.

Barbara Hale | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>