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To improve on current methods of minimally invasive surgery, research is being carried out on systems that will permit procedures to be conducted on the micro-scale using remotely operated micro-robots. One of the major stumbling blocks to meeting this need has been the absence of a practical micromotor with a volume of less than 1 mm3 with which to drive these devices. To rectify this, we present a piezoelectric ultrasonic resonant micromotor with a volume of approximately 0.75 mm3. The motor uses a novel helically cut stator that matches axial and torsional resonant frequencies, excited by a lead zirconate titanate element 0.03 mm3 in volume. An earlier motor using the same stator design, but a larger overall volume, achieved a start-up torque of 47 nNm and no load angular velocity of 830 rad/s. This performance is on the order necessary to propel a swimming microbot in small human veins.
Date of Conference: 12-17 May 2009