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Transfer of motion through a microelectromechanical linkage at nanometer and microradian scales

Published

Author(s)

Craig R. Copeland, Craig D. McGray, Jon C. Geist, Vladimir A. Aksyuk, Samuel M. Stavis

Abstract

Mechanical linkages are fundamentally important for the transfer of motion through assemblies of parts to perform work. Whereas their behavior in macroscale systems is well understood, there are open questions regarding the performance and reliability of linkages with moving parts in contact within microscale systems. Measurement challenges impede experimental studies to answer such questions. In this study, we develop a novel combination of optical microscopy methods that enable the first quantitative measurements at nanometer and microradian scales of the transfer of motion through a microelectromechanical linkage. We track surface features and fluorescent nanoparticles as optical indicators of the motion of the underlying parts of the microsystem. Empirical models allow precise characterization of the electrothermal actuation of the linkage. The transfer of motion between translating and rotating links can be nearly ideal, depending on the operating conditions. The coupling and decoupling of the links agree with an ideal kinematic model to within approximately 5%, and the rotational output is perfectly repeatable to within approximately 20 microradians. However, stiction can result in nonideal kinematics, and input noise on the scale of a few millivolts produces an asymmetric interaction of electrical noise and mechanical play that results in the nondeterministic transfer of motion. Our study establishes a new approach towards testing the performance and reliability of the transfer of motion through assemblies of microscale parts, opening the door to future studies of complex microsystems.
Citation
Microsystems & Nanoengineering
Volume
2

Keywords

Electrothermal, linkage, microelectromechanical, nanoparticle, noise, rotation, tracking, translation

Citation

Copeland, C. , McGray, C. , Geist, J. , Aksyuk, V. and Stavis, S. (2016), Transfer of motion through a microelectromechanical linkage at nanometer and microradian scales, Microsystems & Nanoengineering, [online], https://doi.org/10.1038/micronano.2016.55 (Accessed May 17, 2022)
Created September 12, 2016, Updated March 12, 2020