Simulation of shaped comb drive as a stepped actuator for microtweezers application

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man., Canada R3T 5V6
Sensors and Actuators A Physical (Impact Factor: 1.84). 09/2005; DOI: 10.1016/j.sna.2005.03.031

ABSTRACT Finite element analysis is used to simulate electrostatic actuated, shaped comb drives operating under dc conditions (zero actuating frequency). A dynamic multiphysics model is developed using the arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian (ALE) formulation. Results show the coupled interaction between the electrostatic and mechanical domains of the transducer. The analysis is based on the evolution of electrostatic force versus comb finger engagement. The relationship between incremental lateral displacement and actuation voltage illustrates the potential for stepped movement for a shaped comb drive. Additionally, through numerical simulations, this project determines an optimum design for a dc-actuated comb drive, which has controllable force output and stable engaging movement.

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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents a method for fabricating a fundamental MEMS tool—microtweezers. Microtweezers offer an attractive option to meet the increasing need to grasp, manipulate and excise microstructures or biological components. The microtweezers presented here augment a standard micromanipulator, allowing precise positioning in three dimensions. An additional micro-drive control knob, which is affixed to the micromanipulator, allows actuation of the tweezer tips through the use of a tether-cable drive system. This drive actuates the tweezer tips by the reciprocating motion of two microfabricated parts: the tweezers and tweezer box. A simple three-layer planar fabrication scheme allows for a broad range of tweezer styles (straight and serrated tips) and sizes (microns to millimeters). For these studies, 20 µm wide and 10 µm thick nickel beams were developed for the tweezer tips, which could endure 20 mN of force. To demonstrate the concept of microassembly, pick and place operations were performed on 10 µm thick film structures. Additional functionality was achieved by integrating platinum-black microelectrodes into parylene-coated tweezers to allow electrophysiological functions such as cellular stimulation and recording. Ultimately, this unique and simple design affords extraordinarily delicate control that is potentially beneficial for applications in microassembly, electrophysiology and microsurgery.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents the design and evaluation of a high force density fishbone shaped electrostatic comb drive actuator. This comb drive actuator has a branched structure similar to a fishbone, which is intended to increase the capacitance of the electrodes and hence increase the electrostatic actuation force. Two-dimensional finite element analysis was used to simulate the motion of the fishbone shaped electrostatic comb drive actuator and compared against the performance of a straight sided electrostatic comb drive actuator. Performances of both designs are evaluated by comparison of displacement and electrostatic force. For both cases, the active area and the minimum gap distance between the two electrodes were constant. An active area of 800 × 300 μm, which contained 16 fingers of fishbone shaped actuators and 40 fingers of straight sided actuators, respectively, was used. Through simulation, improvement of drive force of the fishbone shaped electrostatic comb driver is approximately 485% higher than conventional electrostatic comb driver. These results indicate that the fishbone actuator design provides good potential for applications as high force density electrostatic microactuator in MEMS systems.
    TheScientificWorldJournal. 01/2014; 2014:912683.

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