Performance evaluation of a curved electrode actuator fabricated without gold/chromium conductive layers
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Curved electrode actuators displace on the order of a biological cell diameter at low actuation voltages, making them a potential candidate for probing and micromanipulation of cells in an underwater, closed microenvironment. Here, a closed microenvironment is formed by bonding a Polydimethylsiloxane-based cap-like structure to the actuator; however, the presence of Au/Cr conductive layers on the actuator reduce the available silicon surface area of the actuator—resulting in poor adhesion. Therefore, we propose to fabricate the actuators without these conductive layers. In this paper, we demonstrate the absence of these layers has a minimal effect on the actuator’s peak-to-peak displacement and force. The actuator achieves the following performance metrics: large displacement (1–10 μm) and force (1–21.5 μN) range; broad frequency range (1–500 Hz); and low actuation voltages (0–8 V) in viscous media that are necessary for cell probing and micromanipulation applications.
The authors would like to thank David Hoelzle at The Ohio State University for granting access to research facilities to conduct experiments shown in this work. This work was supported in part by University of Notre Dame Walther Cancer Foundation IITP Fellowship, Wichita State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State capitalization funds. Technical consultation was given by the Notre Dame Nanofabrication and Ohio State Nanotech West Facilities.
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