Micromachined actuators have a range of applications, e.g. for the integration of an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) on a single chip, novel lithography techniques, micro-switches, etc.
The project investigates thermal actuators to realise movement along three axes. A micro-fabrication process has been developed that allows to produce in-plane bimorphs consisting of aluminium and silicon. An actuator stage is being designed having a platform on which an atomically sharp tip can be placed. This can be used for scanning an area of a sample, thus obtaining an image of the sample topology. The actuators incorporate piezo-resistors which result in a resistance change proportional to strain due to surface-tip interaction.
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