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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: 1.94). 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 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.
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    ABSTRACT: Finite element analysis is used to simulate electro statically actuated comb drives operating under dc conditions (zero actuating frequency). A dynamic multiphysics model is developed using the arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) formulation. The 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 paper present that with the help of numerical simulations an optimum design was found for a comb drive reliability test structure with a well defined part exposed to fatigue.
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