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Micro, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2024) – 13 articles

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11 pages, 3999 KiB  
Article
Janus Particles in Acoustofluidic Setup: The Interplay between Self-Propulsion and Acoustic Trapping
by Lisa Marie Benko, Vyacheslav R. Misko, Larysa Baraban, Denys Makarov, Antonio Maisto and Wim De Malsche
Micro 2024, 4(1), 185-195; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010013 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 930
Abstract
Acoustic focusing of particle flow in microfluidics has been shown to be an efficient tool for particle separation for various chemical and biomedical applications. The mechanism behind the method is the selective effect of the acoustic radiation force on distinct particles. In this [...] Read more.
Acoustic focusing of particle flow in microfluidics has been shown to be an efficient tool for particle separation for various chemical and biomedical applications. The mechanism behind the method is the selective effect of the acoustic radiation force on distinct particles. In this way, they can be selectively focused and separated. The technique can also be applied under stationary conditions, i.e., in the absence of fluid flows. In this study, the manipulation of self-propelled particles, such as Janus particles, in an acoustofluidic setup was investigated. In experiments with self-propelled Janus particles and passive beads, we explored the interplay between self-propulsion and the acoustic radiation force. Our results demonstrated unusual and potentially useful effects such as selective trapping, escape, and assisted escape in binary mixtures of active and passive particles. We also analyzed various aspects related to the behavior of Janus particles in acoustic traps in the presence and absence of flows. Full article
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15 pages, 6836 KiB  
Article
An Investigation into the Effect of Length Scale of Reinforcement on the Cryogenic Response of a Mg/2wt.%CeO2 Composite
by Shwetabh Gupta, Michael Johanes, Gururaj Parande and Manoj Gupta
Micro 2024, 4(1), 170-184; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010012 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 500
Abstract
The present study attempted for the first time an investigation on the effect of deep cryogenic treatment in liquid nitrogen (LN) on magnesium–cerium oxide (Mg/2wt.%CeO2) composites containing equal amounts of different length scales (micron and nanosize) cerium oxide (CeO2) [...] Read more.
The present study attempted for the first time an investigation on the effect of deep cryogenic treatment in liquid nitrogen (LN) on magnesium–cerium oxide (Mg/2wt.%CeO2) composites containing equal amounts of different length scales (micron and nanosize) cerium oxide (CeO2) particles. The disintegrated melt deposition method was used to synthesize Mg-2CeO2 micro- and nanocomposites, followed by hot extrusion as the secondary processing. Further liquid nitrogen treatment was performed at a cryogenic temperature of −196 °C. The combined effects of cryogenic treatment and reinforcement length scale on physical, mechanical, and thermal behaviors were studied. The results indicate that LN-treated micro- and nanocomposite samples exhibit, in common, a reduction in porosity, similar grain size, and a limited effect on the original texture of the matrix. However, microhardness, 0.2% Compressive Yield Strength (CYS), failure strain, and energy absorbed increased for both micro- and nanocomposite samples. Overall, results clearly indicate the capability of deep cryogenic treatment with LN to positively diversify the properties of both micro- and nanocomposite samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Micro- and Nanomaterials: Synthesis and Applications)
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13 pages, 4259 KiB  
Article
Influence of Pt Ultrathin Interlayers on Magnetic Anisotropy in Ni/NiO Multilayers
by Dimitrios I. Anyfantis, Alexandros Barnasas, Nikolaos C. Diamantopoulos, Constantinos M. Tsakiris, Georg Schmidt, Evangelos Th. Papaioannou and Panagiotis Poulopoulos
Micro 2024, 4(1), 157-169; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010011 - 29 Feb 2024
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Perpendicular magnetic anisotropy at transition metal/oxide interfaces plays a significant role in technological applications such as magnetic storage and spintronics. In this study, we investigate the effects of thermal annealing and Pt ultrathin interlayers on the magnetic anisotropy in Ni/NiO multilayers. Ni/NiO/Pt multilayers [...] Read more.
Perpendicular magnetic anisotropy at transition metal/oxide interfaces plays a significant role in technological applications such as magnetic storage and spintronics. In this study, we investigate the effects of thermal annealing and Pt ultrathin interlayers on the magnetic anisotropy in Ni/NiO multilayers. Ni/NiO/Pt multilayers were fabricated via radiofrequency magnetron sputtering and natural oxidation. The static magnetic properties of the samples were studied using temperature-dependent SQUID magnetometry. We focus on a sample with a Nickel thickness of 6.7 nm in each multilayer period. This multilayer in Ni/NiO form showed the maximum enhancement of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy after mild thermal annealing in past work. In this work, we study the effects of ultrathin Pt interlayers on the magnetic properties of such a Ni/NiO multilayer before and after annealing. We have observed a further increase in perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, and we study the temperature-dependent magnetic properties of this system, which combines the favorable magnetic properties of Ni/Pt and Ni/NiO multilayers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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15 pages, 10680 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Thin AlN/Ag/AlN-Reflector Stacks on Glass Substrates for MEMS Applications
by Christian Behl, Regine Behlert, Jan Seiler, Christian Helke, Alexey Shaporin and Karla Hiller
Micro 2024, 4(1), 142-156; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010010 - 29 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 448
Abstract
Thin metal layers such as silver (Ag) are being utilized for various optical and plasmonic applications as well as for electrical purposes, e.g., as transparent electrodes in display devices or solar cells. This paper focuses on optical MEMS applications such as the Fabry–Pérot [...] Read more.
Thin metal layers such as silver (Ag) are being utilized for various optical and plasmonic applications as well as for electrical purposes, e.g., as transparent electrodes in display devices or solar cells. This paper focuses on optical MEMS applications such as the Fabry–Pérot interferometer (FPI). Within such filters, reflector materials such as distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) or subwavelength gratings (SWGs) have been widely used so far, whereas metallic thin films (MTFs) were limited in application due to their comparatively higher absorption. In this paper, thin sputtered Ag layers with thicknesses of 20, 40 and 60 nm on glass substrates have been investigated, and it is shown that the absorption is very low in the visible spectral range (VIS) and increases only in near-infrared (NIR) with increasing wavelength. Thus, we consider Ag-thin layers to be an interesting reflector material at least for the VIS range, which can be easily fabricated and integrated. However, Ag is not inert and stable when exposed to the atmosphere. Hence, it needs a passivation material. For this purpose, AlN has been chosen in this contribution, which can be deposited by sputtering as well. In this contribution, we have chosen thin AlN layers for this purpose, which can also be deposited by sputtering. Thus, various AlN/Ag/AlN-reflector stacks were created and patterned by lift-off technology preferably. The fabricated reflectors were characterized with respect to adhesion, stress, cohesion, homogeneity, and most importantly, their optical properties. It was found that the thickness of the AlN can be used to adjust the reflectance–transmittance ratio in the VIS range, and influences the adsorption in the NIR range as well. Based on the measured values of the reflectors with 40 nm Ag, an exemplary transmission filter characteristics has been predicted for a wavelength range from 400 to 800 nm. Both the maximum transmittance and the full width at half maximum (FWHM) can be tuned by variation of the AlN thickness from 20 to 60 nm. Full article
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10 pages, 1463 KiB  
Review
Nanomedicine-Based Drug Delivery Systems and the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review
by Zaria Jean-Baptiste, Yashwant Pathak and Kevin B. Sneed
Micro 2024, 4(1), 132-141; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010009 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1894
Abstract
Nanotechnology has played a pioneering role in advancing medical applications, aiming to enhance healthcare through innovation and collaboration. Nanomedicine can be seen expanding into many fields from cancer therapies, cosmetics, tissue regeneration, biosensing, and infectious diseases, and now, it is seen venturing into [...] Read more.
Nanotechnology has played a pioneering role in advancing medical applications, aiming to enhance healthcare through innovation and collaboration. Nanomedicine can be seen expanding into many fields from cancer therapies, cosmetics, tissue regeneration, biosensing, and infectious diseases, and now, it is seen venturing into the realm of research geared toward autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by restrictive, monotonous activities or fixed interests as well as difficulties with social communication. As of now, there are no validated quantitative metrics for diagnosing autism, nor is there a drug that is specifically designed to treat the condition. As identifiers of ASD have improved, the diagnosis of individuals who meet established criteria have dramatically increased over the years. Although there is still no recognized nanomedicine treatment specifically intended for ASD, research is looking into how nanotechnology might be used in a number of ASD-related areas. This comprehensive review examines prior research efforts aimed at preventing, treating, and diagnosing individuals with ASD. It particularly focuses on the significance of prenatal care and investigates advancements in drug delivery methods through the blood–brain barrier concerning ASD treatment and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Biology and Medicines)
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15 pages, 26513 KiB  
Article
The Decorated Garden Grotto of Condes de Basto Palace in Évora, Portugal: Microbial Community Characterization and Biocide Tests for Conservation
by Inês Silva, Cátia Salvador, Sílvia Arantes, Ana Z. Miller, António Candeias and Ana Teresa Caldeira
Micro 2024, 4(1), 117-131; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010008 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 546
Abstract
The Eugénio de Almeida Foundation’s Casa de Fresco is a historical monument of valuable historic–artistic significance, which currently reveals an assortment of biofilms due to the proliferation of microorganisms in the stone and rocaille elements. The biodeterioration in this area was studied as [...] Read more.
The Eugénio de Almeida Foundation’s Casa de Fresco is a historical monument of valuable historic–artistic significance, which currently reveals an assortment of biofilms due to the proliferation of microorganisms in the stone and rocaille elements. The biodeterioration in this area was studied as part of the Conservation and Restoration Project. We effectively characterized the local microbial community using modern high-throughput DNA analysis. Our results suggested the existence of a variety of lichens or lichenized fungi, including genera such as Variospora, Verrucaria, Circinaria, and Caloplaca. Furthermore, we detected several prokaryote microorganisms related to the identification of these lichens. To properly deal with this microbiological issue and avoid fungal recolonization, we evaluated available commercial antimicrobial treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Biology and Medicines)
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20 pages, 8625 KiB  
Article
Electrodeposition of Zn and Cu Nanoparticles into TiO2 Nanotubes on Ti6Al4V: Antimicrobial Effect against S. Epidermidis and Cytotoxicity Assessment
by Bruno Ribeiro, Ruben Offoiach, Claudia Monteiro, Miguel R. G. Morais, M. Cristina L. Martins, Ana Paula Pêgo, Elisa Salatin, Lorenzo Fedrizzi and Maria Lekka
Micro 2024, 4(1), 97-116; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010007 - 8 Feb 2024
Viewed by 805
Abstract
Surface modification of the Ti6Al4V alloy (ASTM grade 5), with the fabrication of vertically oriented TiO2 nanotubes, has been receiving increasing attention both as a way to provide advanced bioactive features and the ability to act as reservoirs for a localized, controlled [...] Read more.
Surface modification of the Ti6Al4V alloy (ASTM grade 5), with the fabrication of vertically oriented TiO2 nanotubes, has been receiving increasing attention both as a way to provide advanced bioactive features and the ability to act as reservoirs for a localized, controlled drug release. In this work, TiO2 nanotubes were grown on the surface of a Ti6Al4V alloy through electrochemical anodization. An ethylene glycol-based electrolyte containing 0.5 wt.% NH4F and 2.5% (v/v) H2O was used. Post-anodizing heat treatments at 500 °C in air atmosphere were performed to achieve a crystalline oxide layer with a higher mechanical stability. Following these treatments, Zn or Cu nanoparticles were incorporated into the nanotubular structures through electrodeposition processes. Then, the antimicrobial performance of the obtained surfaces was assessed against Staphylococcus epidermidis, a Gram-positive bacterium common in implant-related infections. Lastly, the cytotoxicity of the produced surface was evaluated against MC3T3-E1 mouse pre-osteoblast cells. In general, Cu-doped TiO2 nanotubes presented an almost total antimicrobial action, while Zn doped samples had a lower, but still significant antibacterial effect. However, a highly cytotoxic effect against MC3T3-E1 cells was observed on all anodized samples due to the release of vanadium from the alloy. In spite of this, the surface modification reported in this work can be a valid solution for existing commercially available orthopedic implants, considering that similar solutions were already studied in in vivo assays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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17 pages, 3879 KiB  
Article
A Method for Directly Observing Mechanical Oscillations in Photonic Structures Based on Porous Silicon Nanostructures
by Miller Toledo Solano, Hector H. Cerecedo-Nuñez, Martha Alicia Palomino Ovando, Jocelyn Faubert, Khashayar Misaghian and J. Eduardo Lugo
Micro 2024, 4(1), 80-96; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010006 - 1 Feb 2024
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Due to their unique properties, porous silicon nanostructures have garnered much attention in photonics. For example, these structures can exhibit photoluminescence and are highly efficient in trapping light, making them ideal for applications such as biosensors, optical communication, and solar cells. The production [...] Read more.
Due to their unique properties, porous silicon nanostructures have garnered much attention in photonics. For example, these structures can exhibit photoluminescence and are highly efficient in trapping light, making them ideal for applications such as biosensors, optical communication, and solar cells. The production of electromagnetic forces by light is a well-established concept, and the mechanism behind it is well-understood. In the past, we have used these forces to induce mechanical oscillations in a photonic structure based on porous silicon. Usually, to detect the oscillations, a high-precision vibrometer is utilized. However, we report a novel approach to visualizing photonic structure oscillations here. The traditional method of using a vibrometer as an indirect measurement tool has been replaced by one that involves directly observing the changes using a camera, digital movement amplification, a theoretical approximation, and FDTE simulations. This original technique provides researchers with a less expensive means of studying photonic structure movements. This proposal could be extended to other microscopic movements or for dynamical interferometric fringe analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Physics)
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19 pages, 12029 KiB  
Article
Enhanced Gypsum Boards with Activated Carbon Composites and Phase Change Materials for Advanced Thermal Energy Storage and Electromagnetic Interference Shielding Properties
by Christina Gioti, Konstantinos C. Vasilopoulos, Maria Baikousi, Constantinos E. Salmas, Angelos Ntaflos, Alkiviadis S. Paipetis, Zacharias Viskadourakis, Rabia Ikram, Simeon Agathopoulos, George Kenanakis and Michael A. Karakassides
Micro 2024, 4(1), 61-79; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010005 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 856
Abstract
This work presents the development of novel gypsum board composites for advanced thermal energy storage (TES) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding applications. Activated carbon (AC) derived from spent coffee with a high surface area (SBET = 1372 m2/g) was used [...] Read more.
This work presents the development of novel gypsum board composites for advanced thermal energy storage (TES) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding applications. Activated carbon (AC) derived from spent coffee with a high surface area (SBET = 1372 m2/g) was used as a shape stabilizer, while the commercial paraffin, RT18HC, was used as organic encapsulant phase change material (PCM). The AC showed a remarkable encapsulation efficiency as a shape stabilizer for PCM, with ~120.9 wt% (RT18HC), while the melting enthalpy (ΔHm) of the shape-stabilized PCM was 117.3 J/g. The performance of this PCM/carbon nanocomposite as a thermal energy storage material was examined by incorporating it into building components, such as gypsum wallboards. The microstructure of these advanced panels, their density, and their dispersion of additives were examined using X-ray microtomography. Their thermal-regulated performance was measured through a self-designed room model with a similar homemade environmental chamber that was able to create a uniform temperature environment, surrounding the test room during heating and cooling. The measurements showed that the advanced panels reduce temperature fluctuations and the indoor temperature of the room model, in comparison with normal gypsum panels, by a range of 2–5%. The investigated gypsum board composite samples showed efficient electromagnetic shielding performance in a frequency range of 3.5–7.0 GHz, reaching an EMI value of ~12.5 dB, which is adequate and required for commercial applications, when filled with PCMs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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12 pages, 3216 KiB  
Article
Toward Remote Detection of Chemical Warfare Simulants Using a Miniature Potentiostat
by Amer Dawoud, Rashid Mia, Jesy Alka Motchaalangaram, Wujian Miao and Karl Wallace
Micro 2024, 4(1), 49-60; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010004 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1082
Abstract
A miniaturized electrochemical sensor was developed for the remote detection of chemical warfare agent (CWA) simulants. To facilitate drone-based remote sensing, this present study focuses on advancing the miniaturized and compact electrochemical sensor for monitoring two CWA simulants, diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP) and O,S-diethylmethylphosphonothioate [...] Read more.
A miniaturized electrochemical sensor was developed for the remote detection of chemical warfare agent (CWA) simulants. To facilitate drone-based remote sensing, this present study focuses on advancing the miniaturized and compact electrochemical sensor for monitoring two CWA simulants, diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP) and O,S-diethylmethylphosphonothioate (O,S-DEMPT). The differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) signal was processed, and the DPV signature features were extracted on the basis of the redox properties associated with the absence and the presence of DFP and O,S-DEMPT. Upon the addition of 0.10 equivalence of DFP or O,S-DEMPT, a shift in potential (E) of ~0.13 V was recorded. The limit of detection (LOD) was calculated to be 0.25 µM (0.046 ppm) and 0.10 µM (0.017 ppm) for DFP and O,S-DEMPT, respectively. These results were validated using a portable Palmsens Emstat HR potentiostat, which corroborated the results obtained using a lab benchtop potentiostat. Additionally, Boolean logic (“AND” operation) was implemented for future drone technology deployment. This advancement enables the fabrication of a networked device capable of autonomously executing tasks without constant oversight. Full article
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16 pages, 5761 KiB  
Article
Photochromic Responses and Stability of Functional Inks Applied on Sustainable Packaging Materials
by Sanja Mahović Poljaček, Maja Strižić Jakovljević and Tamara Tomašegović
Micro 2024, 4(1), 33-48; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010003 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 852
Abstract
Photochromism refers to a reversible colour change induced by the irradiation of photochromic materials with ultraviolet (UV) or visible light that reverts to the original colour after the light source is removed. This effect arises from chemical transformations between two isomers with different [...] Read more.
Photochromism refers to a reversible colour change induced by the irradiation of photochromic materials with ultraviolet (UV) or visible light that reverts to the original colour after the light source is removed. This effect arises from chemical transformations between two isomers with different absorption spectra, involving processes like proton transfer, chemical-bond formation, and isomerisation. These photochromic inks, appearing as crystalline powders with micro-sized particles, require dissolution in a suitable matrix to achieve the colour change. Photochromic inks are used in security, as functional coatings for paper and packaging, in the fabric industry, and in other ways. This study examines the influence of varying concentrations of micro-sized photochromic pigments and different ink-coating thicknesses on the photochromic effect on sustainable paperboard substrates. Artificial ageing was performed to assess the photochromic response and lightfastness in relation to pigment concentration, ink-coating thickness, and the influence of the paperboard substrates. The results of this research could contribute to enhancing knowledge on employing photochromic inks for diverse packaging applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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19 pages, 6540 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework and Carbon Nanofiber Composites for Nitrofurazone Detection
by Haobo Wang, Subramanian Sakthinathan, Arjunan Karthi Keyan, Chung-Lun Yu, Satoshi Kameoka, Te-Wei Chiu and Karuppiah Nagaraj
Micro 2024, 4(1), 14-32; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010002 - 9 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1441
Abstract
Metal–organic frame (MOF) materials may have the advantages of a regular pore structure, large porosity, and large specific surface area, which could provide better catalytic activity, but they have some disadvantages in electrocatalysis. In contrast, carbon nanofibers (CNFs) prepared by electrospinning methods have [...] Read more.
Metal–organic frame (MOF) materials may have the advantages of a regular pore structure, large porosity, and large specific surface area, which could provide better catalytic activity, but they have some disadvantages in electrocatalysis. In contrast, carbon nanofibers (CNFs) prepared by electrospinning methods have good conductivity and stability. Therefore, this research aimed to generate MOF/CNFs composite materials to improve the electrochemical properties of MOF materials and apply them to the field of electrochemical sensing. This experiment was based on the preparation of straight unidirectional CNFs by an electrospinning method at 2000 RPM. The original method of preparing zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIF-8) was improved and ZIF-8 was uniformly dispersed on the surface of CNFs to form a ZIF-8/CNF composite with a fiber diameter of about 0.10 to 0.35 µm. The specific surface area of the CNFs was about 42.28 m2/g, while that of the ZIF-8/CNF composite was about 999.82 m2/g. The specific surface area of the ZIF-8/CNF composite was significantly larger than that of CNFs. The GCE/ZIF-8/CNF electrode had an excellent electrochemical reaction, with an oxidation peak at about 216 μA, which proved that the ZIF-8/CNF composite material would have good catalytic activity and excellent electrochemical properties for the detection of nitrofurazone compared to other modified electrodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microscale Materials Science)
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13 pages, 3230 KiB  
Article
Design Guideline for a Cantilever-Type MEMS Switch with High Contact Force
by Ilia V. Uvarov and Igor A. Belozerov
Micro 2024, 4(1), 1-13; https://doi.org/10.3390/micro4010001 - 20 Dec 2023
Viewed by 927
Abstract
Micromechanical switches are of significant interest for advanced radio frequency and microwave systems, but their practical implementation is limited by low reliability. Electrodes of a microscopic size develop weak contact force that leads to high and unstable contact resistance. The force is typically [...] Read more.
Micromechanical switches are of significant interest for advanced radio frequency and microwave systems, but their practical implementation is limited by low reliability. Electrodes of a microscopic size develop weak contact force that leads to high and unstable contact resistance. The force is typically increased by using a sophisticated switch design with extended lateral dimensions, although a simple and compact cantilever is more preferable. The paper describes for the first time a comprehensive approach to enhance the force of an electrostatically actuated switch. The strategy is applied to a miniature device based on a 50 µm long cantilever. The contact force is increased from 10 to 112 µN, making the switch strong enough to achieve low and stable contact resistance. The restoring force is also enhanced in order to ensure reliable de-actuation. The growth of forces is accompanied by a reduction in the pull-in voltage. Connecting several cantilevers in parallel and manipulating the number and position of contact bumps additionally improves the force and mechanical stability of the switch. An optimal design contains a triple cantilever with two bumps. It provides 50% higher force per contact compared to the single-cantilever switch at the same pull-in voltage and keeps the advantages of a miniature device. The proposed design strategy may be used for building reliable MEMS switches. Full article
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