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Voltage Control of the Resonance Frequency of Dielectric Electroactive Polymer (DEAP) Membranes

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5 Author(s)
Philippe Dubois ; Microsyst. for Space Technol. Lab., Ecole Polytech. Fed. de Lausanne, Lausanne ; Samuel Rosset ; Muhamed Niklaus ; Massoud Dadras
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We report on the characterization, active tuning, and modeling of the first mode resonance frequency of dielectric electroactive polymer (DEAP) membranes. Unlike other resonance frequency tuning techniques, the tuning procedure presented here requires no external actuators or variable elements. Compliant electrodes were sputtered or implanted on both sides of 20-35-mum-thick and 2-4-mm-diameter polydimethylsiloxane membranes. The electrostatic force from an applied voltage adds compressive stress to the membrane, effectively softening the device and reducing its resonance frequency, in principle to zero at the buckling threshold. A reduction in resonance frequency up to 77% (limited by dielectric breakdown) from the initial value of 1620 Hz was observed at 1800 V for ion-implanted membranes. Excellent agreement was found between our measurements and an analytical model we developed based on the Rayleigh-Ritz theory. This model is more accurate in the tensile domain than the existing model for thick plates applied to DEAPs. By varying the resonance frequency of the membranes (and, hence, their compliance), they can be used as frequency-tunable attenuators. The same technology could also allow the fine-tuning of the resonance frequencies in the megahertz range of devices made from much stiffer polymers.

Published in:

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 5 )