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Kinematically Stabilized Microbubble Actuator Arrays

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4 Author(s)
Xiaosong Wu ; Georgia Inst. of Technol., Atlanta ; Guang Yuan ; Yong-Kyu Yoon ; Mark G. Allen

In this paper, the concept, fabrication, and characterization of a kinematically stabilized polymeric microbubble actuator (endoskeletal microbubble actuator) for a pneumatic tactile display application are presented. The kinematic stabilization is achieved by the combination of two polymeric layers with complementary functions: a microcorrugated parylene diaphragm layer as a ldquoskeletonrdquo to provide a directional deflection in a desired axial direction while suppressing undesired lateral deflections and an overcoated elastomer diaphragm layer as a ldquoskinrdquo to help the extended membrane recoil to its original shape, ensuring diaphragm stability. Arrays of microcorrugated diaphragms are implemented in a mass producible fashion using inclined rotational UV lithography, micromolding, and pattern transfer techniques. Both the number of corrugations and the corrugation profile of the endoskeletal actuator are determined through numerical analysis, taking into account the constraints of the microfabrication processes utilized. A prototype of a single endoskeletal bubble actuator with a diameter of 2.6 mm has been fabricated and characterized. For comparison purposes, elastomer microcorrugated diaphragm (skin only) actuators and parylene microcorrugated diaphragm (skeleton only) actuators of the same materials and dimensions have also been fabricated and tested. While the skin-only diaphragm actuators demonstrated undesired omnidirectional inflation and the skeleton-only diaphragm actuators have shown unstable and irreversible deformation during extension, the proposed endoskeletal microbubble actuators have shown stable reversible axial extensions with a deflection of approximately 0.9 mm. A 6 6 array of endoskeletal polymer microbubble actuators integrated with a microfluidic manifold has been successfully fabricated, demonstrating its mass manufacturability.

Published in:

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 1 )