Articles

Low-power electrothermal actuation for microelectromechanical systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Jack L. Skinner, Paul M. Dentinger

Sandia National Laboratories, P.O. Box 969, Livermore, California 94550

Fabian W. Strong

University of California, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2064 Kemper Hall, Davis, California 95616

Steve E. Gianoulakis

Sandia National Laboratories, P.O. Box 5800, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87123

J. Micro/Nanolith. MEMS MOEMS. 7(4), 043025 (November 06, 2008). doi:10.1117/1.3013549
History: Received March 11, 2008; Revised August 25, 2008; Accepted September 09, 2008; Published November 06, 2008
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Electrothermal actuation has been used in microelectromechanical systems where low actuation voltage and high contact force are required. Power consumption to operate electrothermal actuators has typically been higher than with electrostatic actuation. A method of designing and processing electrothermal actuators is presented that leads to an order of magnitude reduction in required power while maintaining the low voltage, high force advantages. The substrate was removed beneath the actuator beams, thereby discarding the predominant power loss mechanism and reducing the required actuation power by an order of magnitude. Measured data and theoretical results from electrothermally actuated switches are presented to confirm the method.

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© 2008 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Jack L. Skinner ; Paul M. Dentinger ; Fabian W. Strong and Steve E. Gianoulakis
"Low-power electrothermal actuation for microelectromechanical systems", J. Micro/Nanolith. MEMS MOEMS. 7(4), 043025 (November 06, 2008). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3013549


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