Micropositioning platforms are systems in which a defined, usually centrally located surface can perform lateral, rotational, tilting or lifting movements as well as combinations of these. The drive succeeds via microactuators connected to the platform. The microactuators can be managed in particular by bending transducers.
Electrostatic bending transducers are being developed at Fraunhofer IPMS. They are used in the micropositioning platforms as a direct drive. An alternative indirect drive takes the form of an "inchworm" principle. This describes the stepwise displacement of a feed element alternating with a clamping. The feed element itself can be connected to a platform. The feed actuator is formed by the bending transducers. On the other hand, the clamping function can be electrostatic or provided by further bending transducers. With such a MEMS inchworm motor, precise and in sum large travels are possible.
Microactuators and micropositioning platforms belong to the discipline of micro- and nanosystems. Research focuses on dynamics, damping, reliability, tribology, electrostatics, actuation, and packaging and interconnection.
Applications of micropositioning platforms in a broader sense can be found, for example, in analytics for sample placement and micromanipulation or in optical analytics for particularly flat and mobile microscopy systems.