Abstract

Thermomechanical in-plane microactuators (TIMs) have been designed, modeled, fabricated, and tested. TIMs offer an alternative to arrays of smaller thermal actuators to obtain high output forces. The design is easily modified to obtain the desired output force or deflection for specific applications. The operational principle is based on the symmetrical thermal expansion of variable cross sections of the surface micromachined microdevice. Sixteen configurations of TIMs were fabricated of polysilicon. Finite element analysis models were used to predict the deflection and output force for the actuators. Experimental results were also recorded for all sixteen configurations, including deflections and output forces up to 20 micron and 35 dyne.

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