Emerging Challenges of Microactuators for Nanoscale Positioning, Assembly, and Manipulation

[+] Author and Article Information
Bijoyraj Sahu

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-6300

Curtis R. Taylor

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-6300curtis.taylor@ufl.edu

Kam K. Leang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, NV 89557-0312kam@unr.edu

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 132(3), 030917 (Jun 14, 2010) (16 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001662 History: Received August 31, 2009; Revised April 12, 2010; Published June 14, 2010; Online June 14, 2010

The development of manufacturing tools and processes capable of precisely positioning and manipulating nanoscale components and materials is still in its embryonic stage. Microactuators are emerging as important tools capable of precisely positioning and manipulating nanoscale components and materials. This paper provides a summary of the state-of-the-art in the design, fabrication, and application of microactuators for nanoscale manufacturing and assembly. Key characteristics and design models of electrothermal and electrostatic microactuators are described and compared. Specific design requirements for their functionality at the nanoscale are discussed. The results demonstrate the limitations of existing microactuator designs and key challenges associated with their design, modeling, and performance characterization for nanoscale positioning, assembly, and manipulation.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

((a)–(d)) Reproducible assembly of CNT-enhanced AFM supertips using topology-optimized microgrippers (2)

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Figure 2

Dip pen nanolithography showing (a) deposition of ink molecules (21) and (b) massively parallel (55,000) DPN with 2D cantilever array (25)

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Figure 3

(a) SEM image of silicon microgripper with integrated force sensing and demonstrated control down to 40 nN. (b) SEM image of microgripper performing cell transport and alignment (5).

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Figure 4

Schematic diagram of electrothermal actuators showing (a) U-beam actuator where higher expansion of the hot arm results in deflection toward cold arm side; (b) bimorph actuator that operates on the mismatch of thermal expansion coefficient between aluminum and silicon (40)

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Figure 5

Schematic diagram of electrostatic actuator showing (a) comb drive actuator with perpendicular motion relative to the fixed plate, (b) comb drive actuator with parallel motion relative to the fixed plate, and (c) parallel-plate capacitor showing change in capacitance as a function of plate area and gap between them (42)

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Figure 6

Top view of U-beam actuators: (a) U-beam actuator (in series) where differential expansion of the hot arm results in deflection toward the cold arm, (b) U-beam actuator (in parallel) deflection toward hot arm side (62), (c) double-U-beam (current path in outer and inner hot arms only) (67), (d) hot arm with wide central region for higher deflection and lower peak temperature (64), and (e) double-U-beam with uniform hot arms enabling six different modes of operation (43)

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Figure 7

Schematic diagram of (a) out-of-plane unidirectional motion U-beam actuator (69), (b) bidirectional U-beam actuator (69), and (c) two degree-of-freedom (in-plane and out-of-plane) U-beam actuator (70)

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Figure 8

(a) Schematic diagram showing array of chevron structures for the V-beam actuator and (b) SEM image of a V-beam actuator used for nanoscale tensile testing with an integrated load sensor (14)

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Figure 9

SEM images of ETC using arrays of U-beam actuators: (a) parallel 3DOF planar micromanipulator (62) and (b) 6DOF μ-hexflexure nanopositioner (52)

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Figure 10

SEM image of the electrothermal actuator designed by topology optimization, which demonstrated pick and place manipulation of CNTs (81)

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Figure 11

Schematic diagram of embedded structure-based polymeric actuator. (a) Basic configuration consisting of a polymeric expander (SU-8), a meandering shaped skeleton (Si) and thin film heater (Al). (b) 2DOF microgripper configuration made of embedded structure-based polymeric actuator (84).

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Figure 12

(a) Schematic diagram of comb drive actuator with different suspension systems: (b) clamped-clamped beam, (c) crab-leg beam, (d) folded-beam, (e) hybrid spring, and (f) prebent-tilted beam

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Figure 13

Methods of improving displacement of comb drives (89): (a) shifting the maximum of spring stiffness, (b) reducing the equivalent electrostatic constant, and (c) minimum of spring constant shifting

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Figure 14

Comb drive actuators displacement enhancement methods: (a) SEM image of linearly engaging teeth and prebent suspension (93), (b) schematic diagram of three-stage cascading configuration (96), and (c) sequential engagement of primary and secondary comb drives by voltage switching (89)

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Figure 15

Schematic diagram of nanopositioning stages with comb drive actuators: (a) three-axis MEMS nanopositioning stage with z-axis motion by parallel-plate actuator (97) and (b) parallel kinematic four bar mechanism with flexure hinge configuration (99)

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Figure 16

Solid model of a comb drive nanomanipulator with amplification mechanism and demonstrated motion range of ±2.55 μm with 0.15 nm resolution and force capability of 98 μN(102)

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Figure 17

Schematic diagram of the high force and displacement capable scratch drive actuator (SDA): (a) basic configuration showing warping motion of the SDA controlled by amplitude and frequency of input voltage (41); (b) microtranslational table operated by SDA with voltage applied to the SDA by a meshed electrode (112)

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Figure 18

Schematic diagram showing heat transfer (conduction) from a control volume with internal Joule heating; convection is neglected




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