Motion control of a magnetically levitated microrobot using magnetic flux measurement

Abstract

Recent advancements in micro/nano domain technologies have led to a renewed interest in ultra-high resolution magnetic-based actuation mechanisms. This paper deals with the development of a novel research-made magnetic microrobotic station (MMS) with promising potential in biological/biomedical applications. The MMS consists of two separate basic components: a magnetic drive unit and a microrobot. The magnetic drive unit produces and regulates the magnetic field for non-contact propelling of the microrobot in an enclosed environment. Our previous research findings have reported that the MMS should be equipped with high accuracy laser sensors for the position determination of the microrobot in the workspace. However, the laser positioning techniques can be used only in highly transparent environments. This paper seeks to address microrobot position estimation in non-transparent environments. A novel technique based on real-time magnetic flux measurement has been proposed for position estimation of the microrobot in the case of the laser beam blockage. A combination of Hall-effect sensors is employed in the structure of the magnetic drive unit to find the microrobot’s position using the produced magnetic flux. The most effective installation position for the Hall-effect sensors has been determined based on the accuracy sensitivity of experimental measurements. We derived a mathematical function which relates Hall-effect sensors’ voltage output and the position of the microrobot. The motion control capability of the Hall-effect-based positioning method is experimentally verified in the horizontal axis, and it was demonstrated that the microrobot can be operated in most of the workspace range with an accuracy of 0.3 mm as the root-mean-square of the position error.

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Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for financial support.

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Correspondence to Mir Behrad Khamesee.

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Mehrtash, M., Khamesee, M.B., Tsuda, N. et al. Motion control of a magnetically levitated microrobot using magnetic flux measurement. Microsyst Technol 18, 1417–1424 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00542-012-1561-6

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Keywords

  • Permanent Magnet
  • Magnetic Flux
  • Position Estimation
  • Magnetic Dipole Moment
  • Laser Sensor