Flexible electrostatic actuators are well designed for a range of commercial applications, from small micro-mechanical robotics to large vector displays or sound wall systems. Electrostatic actuation provides efficient, low-power, fast-response driving and control of movable nano-, micro-, and macro-structures. While commercially available electrostatic actuators have the requisite high levels of mechanical energy / force for some applications, their energy requirements are typically orders of magnitude higher than what is needed in large-area, low-power applications. Moreover, conventional approaches to these types of electrostatic actuators have limited design geometries and are prone to reliability issues like electrical shorts. To address these problems, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have experimented with planar electrostatic actuators using novel printing and electrode patterning and engineering techniques. The team has demonstrated a repulsive-force electrostatic actuator device (100 mm x 60 mm achieved) with extremely high field strength and high voltage operation and without insulator coatings or air breakdown.
electrostatic actuators, electrostatic actuation, repulsive, actuator, flexible actuator, MEMS, custom shape, micro-mirror, tunable capacitor, micromirror, adaptive optics, vector displays, sound walls