Researchers in the UCLA Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed an electrostatically actuated device with reversible high-frequency operation that consumes low power and has low fabrication costs.
Actuated devices, which use an input force to cause a desired motion, have numerous applications. For instance, piezoelectric forces have been used to control the movement of micromachined structures, and electromagnetic fields have been used to drive micromotors. Electrostatically actuated devices, which use the electrostatic force between two separated electrodes to induce movement, can be produced at low costs and have a small size and high reliability. However, static charges can become trapped between the two electrodes of these devices, creating an electrostatic sticking force that prevents the device from properly working and limits rapid, cyclical actuation. There is thus a need for an improved electrostatically actuated device capable of reversible high frequency operation.
Researchers in the UCLA Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed an electrostatically actuated device that consumes low power, has low fabrication costs, and achieves reversible high-frequency operation due to the fact that static charges do not become trapped between the device’s two electrodes. The device thus overcomes the problem of electrostatic sticking force associated with current electrostatically actuated devices. Potential applications include small-form-factor solid-state microfluidic devices.
Electrostatic force; electrostatically actuated device; electrostatic actuator; MEMS; microfluidics