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Design, fabrication, and control of MEMS-based actuator arrays for air-flow distributed micromanipulation

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4 Author(s)

This paper reports the design, fabrication and control of arrayed microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based actuators for distributed micromanipulation by generation and control of an air-flow force field. The authors present an original design of pneumatic microactuator, improving reliability and durability of a distributed planar micromanipulator described in the previous study. The fabrication process is based on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer and HF (hydroflouric acid) vapor release, which also significantly increases the production yield of the 560 microactuator array device of 35times35 mm2. Minimization of the electrostatic actuation pull-in voltage through suspension shaping fabrication was also studied, and successfully validated for electrical efficiency improvement. A distributed control method to achieve good conveyance performance and reduce motion control instability was investigated. An emulation approach was chosen to validate a decentralized control strategy on the distributed active surface in order to conduct a proof-of-concept of a future smart structure, integrating sensors, intelligence, and microactuators. Thus, a centralized/decentralized control flow, inspired by autonomous mobile robot principles, was applied. It was modeled and implemented using C-programming language. Experimental and characterization results validate the control method for feedback micromanipulation with good velocity and load capacity performance

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Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 4 )