Technical Briefs

Components, Building Blocks, and Demonstrations of Spherical Mechanisms in Microelectromechanical Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Craig P. Lusk1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue ENB 118, Tampa, FL 33620-5350

Larry L. Howell

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602lhowell@et.byu.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Mech. Des 130(3), 034503 (Feb 05, 2008) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2829914 History: Received April 20, 2006; Revised May 22, 2007; Published February 05, 2008

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are usually fabricated using planar processing methods, which complicates the design of devices capable of complex motions. For applications that need a micromechanism that rotates out of the plane of fabrication with an in-plane rotational input, or that rotates spatially about a point, spherical kinematics may represent an appropriate solution. This paper describes the design of spherical mechanisms for MEMS including the design of joints and links, and what may be the first demonstration of two spherical micromechanism building blocks: the spherical four-bar micromechanism and the spherical slider-crank micromechanism. Two other micromechanisms are demonstrated to illustrate how the building block devices may be used to create more complex devices.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

SEM of (a) a substrate hinge and (b) a pin joint

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Figure 2

SEMs of a released hinge: (a) in its fabricated position and (b) in an out-of-plane configuration.

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Figure 3

SEM of a spherical four-bar micromechanism. (a) The mechanism in its fabricated position. (b) The mechanism after actuation.

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Figure 4

SEMs of a spherical slider-crank micromechanisms implemented using (a) a small pin joint and (b) a large sliding ring within a fixed rail

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Figure 5

Images of a MHKP in (a) its fabricated position and (b) an actuated position. The MHKP uses spherical slider cranks to move a platform in a direction normal to the substrate.

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Figure 6

SEM of the SBM in (a) its fabricated position (the first stable position), and (b) its second stable position (10)




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