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Spatial arrangement of diverse electrostatic effects, their interaction and control

From a review of the state of the art in electrostatic actuation, it can be concluded, that the electrical field is the most promising actuation in microsystems and there are many more ways to use it for actuation than comb-drives and digital parallel-plate actuators. So far, mostly single electrostatic effects have been investigated, except for unavoidable interactions such as the pull-in effect. Reasons for this may be the simple and one-dimensional design of a discrete effect, the preferred synthesis of complex motion path from cascaded simple actuators, the complexity of electrical field interactions and resulting cross-sensitivities and the almost separated research in the “dry” domain of MEMS and the “wet” domain of microfluidics.This project intends to combine different actuation effects of the electrical field on solids and liquids in a single actuator concept based on a freely moving platform with liquid bearing. It addresses long-scale movements as well as the precise micropositioning. It aims for a deeper understanding of the coupling of different effects as solid capacitors and liquid dielectrics are located in the same varying electrical fields. “Digital” as well as precisely controllable effects are found among electrostatic actuation as well as multi-stable concepts. Inherent sensing of the actual location by investigating differential capacitor pairs. The actuator electrodes are suitable for this purpose, e.g. by high-frequency, low-voltage sampling of the capacity. In the first phase, a demonstrator device combining four different effects is planned. Additionally, it uses liquid bearings replacing a classical spring and combines “dry” and “wet” electrostatic effects, including an overall control concept taking the specific cross-sensitivities into account. For this reason, this project is a cooperation of a MEMS group and a control group.In the second phase, an extension into further degrees of freedom and the integration of alternative acutation effects is intended.  

Professor Dr.-Ing. Christoph Ament

Institut für Informatik
Lehrstuhl für Regelungstechnik in der Ingenieurinformatik
Universität Augsburg
86135 Augsburg

Telefon: +49 821 598 – 3342

christoph ament does-not-exist.informatik uni-augsburg de



Professor Dr.-Ing. Martin Hoffmann

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Fakultät für Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik
Lehrstuhl für Mikrosystemtechnik
Universitätsstraße 150
44801 Bochum

Telefon: +49 234 3227700
Telefax: +49 234 3214166

E-Mail: martin hoffmann-mst does-not-exist.rub de