Abstract: This paper presents the design and characterization of an out-of-plane thermal actuator. The design optimizes the vertical displacement by concentrating elastic deformations in localized hinges allowing a full thermal expansion of the actuator arms. Heating is provided by Joule dissipation in the actuator itself.
A testing device was fabricated using the Memscap PolyMUMPs process. Characterization of the sensor was performed by white light optical profilometry for varying electric biasing and different atmospheres.
The presented design has the advantage that the moving direction of the actuator can be determined by the relative location of the hinges.