A microcantilever system with slider-crank actuation mechanism

Xing Chen, Dong Weon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Abstract A microcantilever system with new actuation principle is developed for enhancing the range of tip deflection. Differing from conventional springboard-like actuation principle, the proposed microcantilever system is based on a slider-crank mechanism. In this system, out-of-plane deflection of the microcantilever can be translated and amplified from in-plane motion of high-powered thermal actuators, which is located away from cantilever body to ensure both energetic driving force and good thermal isolation. Analytical models of both the microcantilever system and the electrothermal actuator are studied concerning the optimized geometry for desired amplification ratio and balanced force/displacement outputs. The prototype is fabricated by standard lithographic process, and an integrated sharp tip is easily machined by a hybrid wet/dry etching method. The fabricated cantilever is experimentally tested and shows that a 22 μm in-plane motion from actuators at an input electrical power of 1026 mW can drive the microcantilever to deflect up to 230 μm, demonstrating the expected actuation principle. The developed microcantilever system with integrated sharp tip shows the promise to work as a microprobe in the multifunctional analysis instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9085
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalSensors and Actuators, A: Physical
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Big deflection
  • Electrothermal actuator
  • Flexure hinge
  • Microcantilever
  • Sharp tip
  • Slider-crank mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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