Power-Scavenging MEMS Robots
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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This thesis includes the design, modeling, and testing of novel, power-scavenging, biologically inspired MEMS microrobots. Over one hundred 500-956m and 990-956m microrobots with two, four, and eight wings were designed, fabricated, characterized. These microrobots constitute the smallest documented attempt at powered flight. Each microrobot wing is comprised of downward-deflecting, laser-powered thermal actuators made of gold and polysilicon the microrobots were fabricated in PolyMUMPs Polysilicon Multi-User MEMS Processes. Characterization results of the microrobots illustrate how wing-tip deflection can be maximized by optimizing the gold-to-polysilicon ratio as well as the dimensions of the actuator-wings. From these results, an optimum actuator-wing configuration was identified. It also was determined that the actuator-wing configuration with maximum deflection and surface area yet minimum mass had the greatest lift-to-weight ratio. Powered testing results showed that the microrobots successfully scavenged power from a remote 660-nm laser. These microrobots also demonstrated rapid downward flapping, but none achieved flight. The results show that the microrobots were too heavy and lacked sufficient wing surface area. It was determined that a successfully flying microrobot can be achieved by adding a robust, light-weight material to the optimum actuator-wing configuration-similar to insect wings. The ultimate objective of the flying microrobot project is an autonomous, fully maneuverable flying microrobot that is capable of sensing and acting upon a target.
- Electrical and Electronic Equipment