Electrical and Computer Engineering

WIMS Seminar

Pneumatic and Hydraulic Microactuators: A New Approach for Achieving High Force Densities at Microscale

Michael De Volder, Ph.D.Visiting Research FellowMechanical Engineering Department, U-M

In Collaboration With IMEC, Belgium.
New industrial and medical applications require microactuators with a high force and power density. Despite their well-known ability to generate high actuation forces, hydraulic actuators remain uncommon in microsystems. This is both due to the difficulty of fabricating these microactuators by lithographic processes and to the lack of adequate microseals. This talk gives an overview of seal technologies for piston-cylinder hydraulic microactuators, and different fabrication strategies. The functionality of these actuators is proven by extensive measurements which confirm their exceptionally high force densities. Therefore, hydraulics is possibly the key technology to develop new microdevices that require high actuation forces. Particularly microrobots for assembly and inspection applications, microfactories, tactile displays, and tools for minimally invasive surgery can benefit from these new microactuators. In addition, microvalves based on liquid crystals, sensors and feedback systems have been developed to control these microactuators.
Michael De Volder received his master degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Leuven (Belgium) in 2002. He performed his Ph.D. research at the same university on hydraulic microactuators and microvalves. In 2005, he stayed as a visiting researcher at the Precision & Intelligence Laboratory of the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In 2007, he obtained his Ph.D. degree and started his postdoctoral research in collaboration with IMEC (Belgium). In 2008, he stayed as a visiting postdoctoral researcher in nanotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan. He received the Iwan Akerman award in 2008.

Sponsored by

WIMS ERC Seminar Series