Micropositioning platforms

MEMS based electrostatic bending actuators

MEMS based Micropositioning Platforms

Micropositioning platforms

© Fraunhofer IPMS
The image shows the basic concept of NED inchworm drive. Blocks of actuators on the left and right side of a so-called shuttle, can push the shuttle in-plane upwards or downwards.
© Fraunhofer IPMS
The image shows two levels of NED inchworm drive (Actuators and blocks) on top of each other to decouple X and Y movement. The optics lie on the upper level.

Micropositioning platforms are systems in which a defined, usually centrally arranged surface can perform lateral, rotational, tilting or lifting movements as well as combinations of them.The drive mechanism is brought about by microactuators which are connected to the platform through coupling elements, typically spring structures. The microactuators can be realized in particular by bending transducers.

MEMS based electrostatic bending actuators were developed at IPMS. They are applied in the micropositioning platforms as direct drives. An alternative drive mechanism is the so-called indirect drive, for example, in the form of an "inchworm" principle. The inchworm principle describes the stepwise displacement of the rotor. In this case, the feed actuator is formed by the bending transducers themselves. In contrast, the clamping function can be performed electrostatically or by additional bending actuators. With such a MEMS inchworm drive system, precise movement and in total long travel ranges are possible.

Microactuators and micropositioning platforms belong to the field of micro- and nanosystems. They are transducers and structures of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The structure of the systems, consisting of the two components mentioned above and other components such as sensors, is closely linked to the concepts of monolithic and hybrid integration. Main research focuses on dynamics, damping, reliability, tribology, electrostatics, control as well as assembly and packaging technology.

Applications of the micropositioning platforms can be found in a broad context, for example, in the field of analytics for specimen positioning and micromanipulation or in optical analytics, particularly for flat and mobile microscopy systems.

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