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Numerical characterization and experimental verification of an in-plane MEMS-actuator with thin-film aluminum heater

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In this paper, a novel concept of a thermo-mechanical MEMS actuator using aluminum thin-film heaters on a thermal oxide for electrical insulation is presented. The actuator is part of an universal tensile testing platform for thermo-mechanical material characterization of one dimensional materials on a micro- and nano-scopic scale under different environmental conditions, as varying temperatures, pressure, moisture or even vacuum and is realised in BDRIE technology. It is shown, that the actuator concept fulfills the requirements for the use in a tensile loading stage along with heterogeneously integrated nanofunctional elements, following a specimen centered approach in line with bottom-up self-assembly processes. Simulation and experiment agree very well in the thermal and mechanical domain and allow subsequent optimisation of the actuator performance.

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The authors wish to thank the Fraunhofer ENAS for providing the device used for the white light interferometry and Marco Meinig, who supported the authors during the work at the device. Finally the authors wish to thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG, for the financial support within the research unit 1713 “Sensoric Micro- and Nanosystems”.

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Correspondence to Peter Meszmer.

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Meszmer, P., Hiller, K., Hartmann, S. et al. Numerical characterization and experimental verification of an in-plane MEMS-actuator with thin-film aluminum heater. Microsyst Technol 20, 1041–1050 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00542-014-2143-6

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  • Digital Image Correlation
  • Finite Element Simulation
  • Lateral Displacement
  • Testing Platform
  • Bulk Silicon