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Electrothermal Linear Micromotors Fabricated from Deep Reactive Ion Etching of Single Crystal Silicon

John M. Maloney, Don L. DeVoe, and David S. Schreiber

Electrothermal linear motors with heights of 50 microns have been fabricated by using deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers. The motors are powered by V-beam thermal actuators that deflect laterally when current is applied. Synchronized arrays of actuators are used to position and clamp a slider through frictional contact only, improving positioning resolution. These high-aspect-ratio motors produce significantly larger forces than similar polysilicon electrothermal or electrostatic devices. Forces of 6.7 mN have been demonstrated at a voltage of 12 V, making these motors well suited for positioning compliant mechanisms. Motors measuring 2.5 mm by 2.1 mm in die area have been run at speeds of up to 1 mm/s over a range in excess of 2 mm.

copyright 1999-2003 John M. Maloney