MEMS Conveyance: Piezoelectric Actuator Arrays for Reconfigurable RF Circuits
Bergbreiter, Sarah E
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An array of piezoelectric cantilevers was designed, fabricated, and characterized for use as a micromanipulation surface in a reconfigurable RF circuit micro-factory. The project, known as RFactory, is an effort by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to create environmentally adaptable, rapidly upgradeable RF systems. The RFactory actuator surface uses unimorph lead zirconate titanate cantilevers with metal posts at the tip that exaggerate the horizontal deflection produced by out-of-plane bending. The motion of a circuit component on the surface has been modeled and observed experimentally. By varying the waveform, voltage amplitude, and frequency of the drive signal, as well as the actuator length and width, the speed and precision of the motion can be controlled. From these characterization efforts, operating conditions that create speeds above 1 mm/s and low positional error (<200 microns after 5 mm translation) have been identified. Finally, full system RF reconfigurability has been demonstrated.