1 July 2005 Molecular orientation control for thermal and UV-driven polymer MEMS actuators
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We present polymeric MEMS materials which reversibly respond to either thermal or UV stimuli by moving between nearly flat (r ~ infinity) and tightly curled states (r ~ 5mm) with variations in the radiation environment or temperature. The molecular orientation gradient of a liquid crystal network controls the primary bending axes, while controlled order parameter variations are responsible for the degree of deformation. In the case of thermal activation, these order changes are dominated by thermal motion, while UV-switchable defects bring about reduced network order in the case of UV actuation. We report fabrication and operation of the actuators and supplementary data regarding alignment configurations for controllable deformations, the phase behaviour of the liquid crystal constituents, thermal expansions, and absorption of the UV dyes are included. We find that splayed molecular configurations are preferred over twisted modes due to their single deformation axis, and that the optimum concentration of active molecules for UV-driven actuation is on the order of 7-8wt.%.
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Kenneth D. Harris, Kenneth D. Harris, Ruud Cuypers, Ruud Cuypers, Patrick Scheibe, Patrick Scheibe, Grietje N. Mol, Grietje N. Mol, Johan Lub, Johan Lub, Cees W. M. Bastiaansen, Cees W. M. Bastiaansen, Dirk J. Broer, Dirk J. Broer, "Molecular orientation control for thermal and UV-driven polymer MEMS actuators", Proc. SPIE 5836, Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS II, (1 July 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.608580; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.608580

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