Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 16882

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Microstructure Technology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Postfach 3640, D-76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
Interests: smart materials; shape memory materials; piezoelectrics; magnetic materials; microtechnology; multistable microactuators; cooperative microactuators; intrinsic sensors
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Guest Editor
Department of Systems Engineering and Department of Material Science and Engineering, Saarland University, 66119 Saarbrücken, Germany
Interests: smart material systems; actuators; sensors; dielectric elastomers; shape memory alloys; elastocalorics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Professor for Computational Materials Science, Institute for Materials Science, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany
Interests: continuum mechanics; damage mechanics; gradient plasticity; finite elements; shape memory alloys; microactuators

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue collects selected review papers from invited authors in the field of cooperative microactuators. Combining similar microactuators in microactuator arrays enables the control of time and spatially resolved actuation patterns, while the combination of microactuators based on different transducer principles even allows for novel process chains across different functional levels as well as several length scales. In addition to understanding and controlling the different synergies, various cross-coupling effects due to the close neighbourhood of microactuators have to be mitigated. This Special Issue will cover the topic of cooperative microactuator devices and systems based on electrostatics, electromagnetics, electroactive polymers, magnetic polymers, shape memory materials, and combinations thereof. 

Prof. Dr. Manfred Kohl
Prof. Dr. Stefan Seelecke
Prof. Dr. Stephan Wulfinghoff
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 2688 KiB  
Article
Bistable Actuation Based on Antagonistic Buckling SMA Beams
by Xi Chen, Lars Bumke, Eckhard Quandt and Manfred Kohl
Actuators 2023, 12(11), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12110422 - 11 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1357
Abstract
Novel miniature-scale bistable actuators are developed, which consist of two antagonistically coupled buckling shape memory alloy (SMA) beams. Two SMA films are designed as buckling SMA beams, whose memory shapes are adjusted to have opposing buckling states. Coupling the SMA beams in their [...] Read more.
Novel miniature-scale bistable actuators are developed, which consist of two antagonistically coupled buckling shape memory alloy (SMA) beams. Two SMA films are designed as buckling SMA beams, whose memory shapes are adjusted to have opposing buckling states. Coupling the SMA beams in their center leads to a compact bistable actuator, which exhibits a bi-directional snap-through motion by selectively heating the SMA beams. Fabrication involves magnetron sputtering of SMA films, subsequent micromachining by lithography, and systems integration. The stationary force–displacement characteristics of monostable actuators consisting of single buckling SMA beams and bistable actuators are characterized with respect to their geometrical parameters. The dynamic performance of bistable actuation is investigated by selectively heating the SMA beams via direct mechanical contact to a low-temperature heat source in the range of 130–190 °C. The bistable actuation is characterized by a large stroke up to 3.65 mm corresponding to more than 30% of the SMA beam length. Operation frequencies are in the order of 1 Hz depending on geometrical parameters and heat source temperature. The bistable actuation at low-temperature differences provides a route for waste heat recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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14 pages, 6727 KiB  
Article
Resonant Self-Actuation Based on Bistable Microswitching
by Joel Joseph, Makoto Ohtsuka, Hiroyuki Miki and Manfred Kohl
Actuators 2023, 12(6), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12060245 - 13 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1287
Abstract
We present the design, simulation, and characterization of a magnetic shape-memory alloy (MSMA) film actuator that transitions from bistable switching to resonant self-actuation when subjected to a stationary heat source. The actuator design comprises two Ni-Mn-Ga films of 10 µm thickness integrated at [...] Read more.
We present the design, simulation, and characterization of a magnetic shape-memory alloy (MSMA) film actuator that transitions from bistable switching to resonant self-actuation when subjected to a stationary heat source. The actuator design comprises two Ni-Mn-Ga films of 10 µm thickness integrated at the front on either side of an elastic cantilever that moves freely between two heatable miniature permanent magnets and, thus, forms a bistable microswitch. Switching between the two states is induced by selectively heating the MSMA films above their Curie temperature Tc. When continuously heating the permanent magnets above Tc, the MSMA film actuator exhibits an oscillatory motion in between the magnets with large oscillation stroke in the frequency range of 50–60 Hz due to resonant self-actuation. A lumped-element model (LEM) is introduced to describe the coupled thermo-magnetic and magneto-mechanical performance of the actuator. We demonstrate that this performance can be used for the thermomagnetic energy generation of low-grade waste heat (T < 150 °C) with a high power output per footprint in the order of 2.3 µW/cm2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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21 pages, 3831 KiB  
Article
Model Order Reduction of Microactuators: Theory and Application
by Arwed Schütz and Tamara Bechtold
Actuators 2023, 12(6), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12060235 - 07 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1142
Abstract
This paper provides an overview of techniques of compact modeling via model order reduction (MOR), emphasizing their application to cooperative microactuators. MOR creates highly efficient yet accurate surrogate models, facilitating design studies, optimization, closed-loop control and analyses of interacting components. This is particularly [...] Read more.
This paper provides an overview of techniques of compact modeling via model order reduction (MOR), emphasizing their application to cooperative microactuators. MOR creates highly efficient yet accurate surrogate models, facilitating design studies, optimization, closed-loop control and analyses of interacting components. This is particularly important for microactuators due to the variety of physical effects employed, their short time constants and the many nonlinear effects. Different approaches for linear, parametric and nonlinear dynamical systems are summarized. Three numerical case studies for selected methods complement the paper. The described case studies emerged from the Kick and Catch research project and within a framework of the German Research Foundation’s Priority Program, Cooperative Multistable Multistage Microactuator Systems (KOMMMA). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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17 pages, 6409 KiB  
Article
Multistage Micropump System towards Vacuum Pressure
by Martin Richter, Daniel Anheuer, Axel Wille, Yuecel Congar and Martin Wackerle
Actuators 2023, 12(6), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12060227 - 31 May 2023
Viewed by 1349
Abstract
Fraunhofer EMFT’s research and manufacturing portfolio includes piezoelectrically actuated silicon micro diaphragm pumps with passive flap valves. Research and development in the field of microfluidics have been dedicated for many years to the use of micropumps for generating positive and negative pressures, as [...] Read more.
Fraunhofer EMFT’s research and manufacturing portfolio includes piezoelectrically actuated silicon micro diaphragm pumps with passive flap valves. Research and development in the field of microfluidics have been dedicated for many years to the use of micropumps for generating positive and negative pressures, as well as delivering various media. However, for some applications, only small amounts of fluid need to be pumped, compressed, or evacuated, and until now, only macroscopic pumps with high power consumption have been able to achieve the necessary flow rate and pressure, especially for compressible media such as air. To address these requirements, one potential approach is to use a multistage of high-performing micropumps optimized to negative pressure. In this paper, we present several possible ways to cascade piezoelectric silicon micropumps with passive flap valves to achieve these stringent requirements. Initially, simulations are conducted to generate negative pressures with different cascading methods. The first multistage option assumes pressure equalization over the piezo-actuator by the upstream pump, while for the second case, the actuator diaphragm operates against atmospheric pressure. Subsequently, measurement results for the generation of negative gas pressures down to −82.1 kPa relative to atmospheric pressure (19.2 kPa absolute) with a multistage of three micropumps are presented. This research enables further miniaturization of many applications with high-performance requirements for micropumps, achievable with these multistage systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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22 pages, 23349 KiB  
Article
Non-Inchworm Electrostatic Cooperative Micro-Stepper-Actuator Systems with Long Stroke
by Lisa Schmitt, Peter Conrad, Alexander Kopp, Christoph Ament and Martin Hoffmann
Actuators 2023, 12(4), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12040150 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1398
Abstract
In this paper, we present different microelectromechanical systems based on electrostatic actuators, and demonstrate their capacity to achieve large and stepwise displacements using a cooperative function of the actuators themselves. To explore this, we introduced micro-stepper actuators to our experimental systems, both with [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present different microelectromechanical systems based on electrostatic actuators, and demonstrate their capacity to achieve large and stepwise displacements using a cooperative function of the actuators themselves. To explore this, we introduced micro-stepper actuators to our experimental systems, both with and without a guiding spring mechanism; mechanisms with such guiding springs can be applied to comb-drive and parallel-plate actuators. Our focus was on comparing various guiding spring designs, so as to increase the actuator displacement. In addition, we present systems based on cascaded actuators; these are converted to micromechanical digital-to-analog converters (DAC). With DACs, the number of actuators (and thus the complexity of the digital control) are significantly reduced in comparison to analog stepper-actuators. We also discuss systems that can achieve even larger displacements by using droplet-based bearings placed on an array of aluminum electrodes, rather than guiding springs. By commutating the voltages within these electrode arrays, the droplets follow the activated electrodes, carrying platforms atop themselves as they do so. This process thus introduces new applications for springless large displacement stepper-actuators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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7 pages, 4157 KiB  
Communication
Dielectric Elastomer Cooperative Microactuator Systems—DECMAS
by Stefan Seelecke, Julian Neu, Sipontina Croce, Jonas Hubertus, Günter Schultes and Gianluca Rizzello
Actuators 2023, 12(4), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12040141 - 27 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1331
Abstract
This paper presents results of the first phase of “Dielectric Elastomer Cooperative Microactuator Systems” (DECMAS), a project within the German Research Foundation Priority Program 2206, “Cooperative Multistable Multistage Microactuator Systems” (KOMMMA). The goal is the development of a soft cooperative microactuator system combining [...] Read more.
This paper presents results of the first phase of “Dielectric Elastomer Cooperative Microactuator Systems” (DECMAS), a project within the German Research Foundation Priority Program 2206, “Cooperative Multistable Multistage Microactuator Systems” (KOMMMA). The goal is the development of a soft cooperative microactuator system combining high flexibility with large-stroke/high-frequency actuation and self-sensing capabilities. The softness is due to a completely polymer-based approach using dielectric elastomer membrane structures and a specific silicone bias system designed to achieve large strokes. The approach thus avoids fluidic or pneumatic compo-nents, enabling, e.g., future smart textile applications with cooperative sensing, haptics, and even acoustic features. The paper introduces design concepts and a first soft, single-actuator demonstrator along with experimental characterization, before expanding it to a 3 × 1 system. This system is used to experimentally study coupling effects, supported by finite element and lumped parameter simulations, which represent the basis for future cooperative control methods. Finally, the paper also introduces a new methodology to fabricate metal-based electrodes of sub-micrometer thickness with high membrane-straining capability and extremely low resistance. These electrodes will enable further miniaturization towards future microscale applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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10 pages, 2437 KiB  
Article
Maskless Writing of Surface-Attached Micro-Magnets by Two-Photon Crosslinking
by Nicolas Geid, Jan Ulrich Leutner, Oswald Prucker and Jürgen Rühe
Actuators 2023, 12(3), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12030124 - 15 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1465
Abstract
Surface-bound 3D micro-magnets are fabricated from photoreactive copolymers filled with magnetic nanoparticles by maskless 3D writing. The structures are generated by 2-photon crosslinking (2PC), which allows direct writing into solid films of composites consisting of magnetic particles and a photoreactive elastomer precursor. With [...] Read more.
Surface-bound 3D micro-magnets are fabricated from photoreactive copolymers filled with magnetic nanoparticles by maskless 3D writing. The structures are generated by 2-photon crosslinking (2PC), which allows direct writing into solid films of composites consisting of magnetic particles and a photoreactive elastomer precursor. With this strategy, it is possible to directly write complex, surface-bound magnetic actuator structures, which generates new opportunities in the fields of microfluidics and bioanalytical systems. Compared to the common 2-photon polymerization, in which the writing process takes place in a liquid resin, the direct writing based on the 2PC method takes place in a solid polymer film (i.e., in the glassy state). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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15 pages, 1997 KiB  
Article
Variational Reduced-Order Modeling of Thermomechanical Shape Memory Alloy Based Cooperative Bistable Microactuators
by Muhammad Babar Shamim, Marian Hörsting and Stephan Wulfinghoff
Actuators 2023, 12(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12010036 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1413
Abstract
This article presents the formulation and application of a reduced-order thermomechanical finite strain shape memory alloy (SMA)-based microactuator model for switching devices under thermal loading by Joule heating. The formulation is cast in the generalized standard material framework with an extension for thermomechanics. [...] Read more.
This article presents the formulation and application of a reduced-order thermomechanical finite strain shape memory alloy (SMA)-based microactuator model for switching devices under thermal loading by Joule heating. The formulation is cast in the generalized standard material framework with an extension for thermomechanics. The proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) is utilized for capturing a reduced basis from a precomputed finite element method (FEM) full-scale model. The modal coefficients are computed by optimization of the underlying incremental thermomechanical potential, and the weak form for the mechanical and thermal problem is formulated in reduced-order format. The reduced-order model (ROM) is compared with the FEM model, and the exemplary mean absolute percentage errors for the displacement and temperature are 0.973% and 0.089%, respectively, with a speedup factor of 9.56 for a single SMA-based actuator. The ROM presented is tested for single and cooperative beam-like actuators. Furthermore, cross-coupling effects and the bistability phenomenon of the microactuators are investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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Review

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38 pages, 6821 KiB  
Review
Inchworm Motors and Beyond: A Review on Cooperative Electrostatic Actuator Systems
by Almothana Albukhari and Ulrich Mescheder
Actuators 2023, 12(4), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12040163 - 04 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2496
Abstract
Having benefited from technological developments, such as surface micromachining, high-aspect-ratio silicon micromachining and ongoing miniaturization in complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technology, some electrostatic actuators became widely used in large-volume products today. However, due to reliability-related issues and inherent limitations, such as the pull-in instability [...] Read more.
Having benefited from technological developments, such as surface micromachining, high-aspect-ratio silicon micromachining and ongoing miniaturization in complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technology, some electrostatic actuators became widely used in large-volume products today. However, due to reliability-related issues and inherent limitations, such as the pull-in instability and extremely small stroke and force, commercial electrostatic actuators are limited to basic implementations and the micro range, and thus cannot be employed in more intricate systems or scaled up to the macro range (mm stroke and N force). To overcome these limitations, cooperative electrostatic actuator systems have been researched by many groups in recent years. After defining the scope and three different levels of cooperation, this review provides an overview of examples of weak, medium and advanced cooperative architectures. As a specific class, hybrid cooperative architectures are presented, in which besides electrostatic actuation, another actuation principle is used. Inchworm motors—belonging to the advanced cooperative architectures—can provide, in principle, the link from the micro to the macro range. As a result of this outstanding potential, they are reviewed and analyzed here in more detail. However, despite promising research concepts and results, commercial applications are still missing. The acceptance of piezoelectric materials in some industrial CMOS facilities might now open the gate towards hybrid cooperative microactuators realized in high volumes in CMOS technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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27 pages, 8068 KiB  
Review
A Review of Cooperative Actuator and Sensor Systems Based on Dielectric Elastomer Transducers
by Gianluca Rizzello
Actuators 2023, 12(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12020046 - 18 Jan 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2595
Abstract
This paper presents an overview of cooperative actuator and sensor systems based on dielectric elastomer (DE) transducers. A DE consists of a flexible capacitor made of a thin layer of soft dielectric material (e.g., acrylic, silicone) surrounded with a compliant electrode, which is [...] Read more.
This paper presents an overview of cooperative actuator and sensor systems based on dielectric elastomer (DE) transducers. A DE consists of a flexible capacitor made of a thin layer of soft dielectric material (e.g., acrylic, silicone) surrounded with a compliant electrode, which is able to work as an actuator or as a sensor. Features such as large deformation, high compliance, flexibility, energy efficiency, lightweight, self-sensing, and low cost make DE technology particularly attractive for the realization of mechatronic systems that are capable of performance not achievable with alternative technologies. If several DEs are arranged in an array-like configuration, new concepts of cooperative actuator/sensor systems can be enabled, in which novel applications and features are made possible by the synergistic operations among nearby elements. The goal of this paper is to review recent advances in the area of cooperative DE systems technology. After summarizing the basic operating principle of DE transducers, several applications of cooperative DE actuators and sensors from the recent literature are discussed, ranging from haptic interfaces and bio-inspired robots to micro-scale devices and tactile sensors. Finally, challenges and perspectives for the future development of cooperative DE systems are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cooperative Microactuator Devices and Systems)
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