From Event: SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging, 2017
In order to carry out nanomanufacturing tasks, a microrobot requires both high precision and high reliability over prolonged periods of time. Articulated Four-Axis Microrobots (AFAM) have been introduced a decade ago as millimetric microrobots capable of carrying out nanoscale tasks. The original robot design relied on a Micro Electro Mechanical (MEMS) actuator bank positioned onto a Silicon substrate, and an assembled arm mechanically coupled to the actuators through a cable. Movement of two thermal actuator banks positions the AFAM’s end effector in 3-Dimensional space with approximately 75 microns workspace and 50 nm repeatability. However, failure of the AFAM’s cable mechanism was observed after less than 1 million cycles. In this paper, we propose a novel arm mechanism for AFAM that improve its performance. The design presented in this article substitutes the "wire-gluing" cable with an anchored electrostatic actuator, and therefore it simplifies assembly requirements, reduces overall footprint of the microrobot, and achieves higher operating frequency. Simulation results are presented for a rotary electrostatic comb drive as basis for the microrobot arm with overall dimensions of 2 mm × 2 mm. The AFAM arm cantilever is 1 mm long to achieve a workspace of dimension of 75 microns along the vertical axis. Experimental evaluation of the design was accomplished using a prototype fabricated on a silicon on insulator (SOI) wafer processed with the deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) process.
Ruoshi Zhang, Zhong Yang, Danming Wei, and Dan O. Popa, "Design and fabrication of an articulated four axes microrobot arm," Proc. SPIE 10216, Smart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XIV, 102160C (Presented at SPIE Commercial + Scientific Sensing and Imaging: April 10, 2017; Published: 16 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262814.
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