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Temperature Homogenization of Co-Integrated Shape Memory – Silicon Bimorph Actuators
* 1 , 1 , 2 , 2 , 2 , 1
1  Institute of Microstructure Technology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe 76131, Germany
2  Institute for Materials Science, University of Kiel (CAU), Kiel 24118, Germany (registering DOI)

The high work density and beneficial downscaling of shape memory alloy (SMA) actuation performance provide a basis for the development of actuators and systems at microscales. Here, we report on a novel approach to combine SMA film deposition and micromachining with silicon (Si) technology in a monolithic fabrication process for co-integration of SMA and Si microstructures to enable SMA-Si bimorph microactuation. Double beam cantilevers are chosen for the actuator layout to enable electro-thermal actuation by Joule heating. We show that Joule heating of the cantilevers generates increasing temperature gradients for decreasing cantilever size, which hampers actuation performance. In order to cope with this problem, a new method for design optimization is presented based on FEM simulations. We demonstrate that temperature homogenization can be achieved by the design of additional folded beams in perpendicular direction to the active beam cantilevers. Thereby, power consumption can be reduced by more than 35 % and maximum deflection can be increased up to a factor of 2 depending on the cantilever geometry.

Keywords: Keywords: microactuator, shape memory bimorph effect, finite element modeling, silicon technology