Bi-directional electrothermal electromagnetic actuators

Andrew Cao, Jongbaeg Kim, Liwei Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


A new breed of in-plane bi-directional MEMS actuators based on controlled electrothermal buckling and electromagnetic Lorentz force has been demonstrated under both dc and ac operations. Experimentally, bi-directional actuators made by the standard surface-micromachining process have a lateral actuation range of several microns and can exert forces over 100 νN, while those made by SOI and MetalMUMPs processes have an operation range up to several tens of microns and can exert more than 20 mN of force. Reliability tests show that SOI/MetalMUMPs and surface-micromachined actuators can operate for more than 1 and 100 million cycles, respectively, with no signs of degradation. As such, these micro-actuators could be used for MEMS devices that require a bi-directional movement with a large force output such as bi-directional micro-relays.

Original languageEnglish
Article number018
Pages (from-to)975-982
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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