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Linear and rotational microhydraulic actuators driven by electrowetting

Published in:
Sci. Robot., Vol. 3, No. 22, 19 September 2018.

Summary

Microhydraulic actuators offer a new way to convert electrical power to mechanical power on a microscale with an unmatched combination of power density and efficiency. Actuators work by combining surface tension force contributions from a large number of droplets distorted by electrowetting electrodes. This paper reports on the behavior of microgram-scale linear and rotational microhydraulic actuators with output force/weight ratios of 5500, cycle frequencies of 4 kilohertz, <1-micrometer movement precision, and accelerations of 3 kilometers/second. The power density and the efficiency of the actuators were characterized by simultaneously measuring the mechanical work performed and the electrical power applied. Maximum output power density was 0.93 kilowatt/kilogram, comparable with the best electric motors. At maximum power, the actuator was 60% efficient, but efficiencies were as high as 83% at lower power. Rotational actuators demonstrated a torque density of 79 newton meters/kilogram, substantially more than electric motors of comparable diameter. Scaling the droplet pitch from 100 to 48 micrometers increased power density from 0.27 to 0.93 kilowatt/kilogram, validating the quadratic scaling of actuator power.
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Summary

Microhydraulic actuators offer a new way to convert electrical power to mechanical power on a microscale with an unmatched combination of power density and efficiency. Actuators work by combining surface tension force contributions from a large number of droplets distorted by electrowetting electrodes. This paper reports on the behavior of...

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Re-engineering Artificial Muscle with Microhydraulics

Published in:
Nature Microsystems & Nanoengineering, vol. 3

Summary

We introduce a new type of actuator, the microhydraulic stepping actuator (MSA), which borrows design and operational concepts from biological muscle and stepper motors. MSAs offer a unique combination of power, efficiency, and scalability not easily achievable on the microscale. The actuator works by integrating surface tension forces produced by electrowetting acting on scaled droplets along the length of a thin ribbon. Like muscle, MSAs have liquid and solid functional components and can displace a large
fraction of their length. The 100 μm pitch MSA presented here already has an output power density of over 200 W kg− 1, rivaling the most powerful biological muscles, due to the scaling of surface tension forces, MSA’s power density grows quadratically as its dimensions are reduced.
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Summary

We introduce a new type of actuator, the microhydraulic stepping actuator (MSA), which borrows design and operational concepts from biological muscle and stepper motors. MSAs offer a unique combination of power, efficiency, and scalability not easily achievable on the microscale. The actuator works by integrating surface tension forces produced by...

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Microhydraulic electrowetting actuators

Published in:
J. Microelectromech. Syst., Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2016, pp. 394-400.

Summary

The conversion of electrical to mechanical power on a sub-centimeter scale is a key technology in many microsystems and energy harvesting devices. In this paper, we present a type of a capacitive energy conversion device that uses capillary pressure and electrowetting to reversibly convert electrical power to hydraulic power. These microhydraulic actuators use a high surface-to-volume ratio to deliver high power at a relatively low voltage with an energy conversion efficiency of over 65%. The capillary pressure generated grows linearly with shrinking capillary diameter, as does the frequency of actuation. We present the pressure, frequency, and power scaling properties of these actuators and demonstrate that power density scales up as the inverse capillary diameter squared, leading to high-efficiency actuators with a strength density exceeding biological muscle. Two potential applications for microhydraulics are also demonstrated: soft-microrobotics and energy harvesting.
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Summary

The conversion of electrical to mechanical power on a sub-centimeter scale is a key technology in many microsystems and energy harvesting devices. In this paper, we present a type of a capacitive energy conversion device that uses capillary pressure and electrowetting to reversibly convert electrical power to hydraulic power. These...

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FDSOI process technology for subthreshold-operation ultra-low power electronics

Published in:
ECS Meeting, 1 May 2011 (in: Adv. Semiconductor-on-Insulator Technol. Rel. Phys., Vol. 35, No. 5, 2011, pp. 179-188).
Topic:

Summary

Ultralow-power electronics will expand the technological capability of handheld and wireless devices by dramatically improving battery life and portability. In addition to innovative low-power design techniques, a complementary process technology is required to enable the highest performance devices possible while maintaining extremely low power consumption. Transistors optimized for subthreshold operation at 0.3 V may achieve a 97% reduction in switching energy compared to conventional transistors. The process technology described in this article takes advantage of the capacitance and performance benefits of thin-body silicon-on-insulator devices, combined with a workfunction engineered mid-gap metal gate.
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Summary

Ultralow-power electronics will expand the technological capability of handheld and wireless devices by dramatically improving battery life and portability. In addition to innovative low-power design techniques, a complementary process technology is required to enable the highest performance devices possible while maintaining extremely low power consumption. Transistors optimized for subthreshold operation...

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Work-function-tuned TiN metal gate FDSOI transistors for subthreshold operation

Published in:
IEEE Trans. Electron Devices, Vol. 58, No. 2, February 2011, pp. 419-426.

Summary

The effective work function of a reactively sputtered TiN metal gate is shown to be tunable from 4.30 to 4.65 eV. The effective work function decreases with nitrogen flow during reactive sputter deposition. Nitrogen annealing increases the effective work function and reduces Dit. Thinner TiN improves the variation in effective work function and reduces gate dielectric charge. Doping of the polysilicon above the TiN metal gate with B or P has negligible effect on the effective work function. The work-function-tuned TiN is integrated into ultralow-power fully depleted silicon-on-insulator CMOS transistors optimized for subthreshold operation at 0.3 V. The following performance metrics are achieved: 64-80-mV/dec subthreshold swing, PMOS/NMOS on-current ratio near 1, 71% reduction inCgd, and 55% reduction in Vt variation when compared with conventional transistors, although significant short-channel effects are observed.
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Summary

The effective work function of a reactively sputtered TiN metal gate is shown to be tunable from 4.30 to 4.65 eV. The effective work function decreases with nitrogen flow during reactive sputter deposition. Nitrogen annealing increases the effective work function and reduces Dit. Thinner TiN improves the variation in effective...

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Improvement of SOI MOSFET RF performance by implant optimization

Published in:
IEEE Microw. Wirel. Compon. Lett., Vol. 20, No. 5, May 2010, pp. 271-273.

Summary

The characteristics of silicon on insulator MOSFETs are modified to enhance the RF performance by varying channel implants. Without adding new masks or fabrication steps to the standard CMOS process, this approach can be easily applied in standard foundry fabrication. The transconductance, output resistance, and breakdown voltage can be increased by eliminating channel and drain extension implants. As a result, the fmax of the modified n-MOSFET with a 150 nm gate length exceeds 120 GHz, showing a 20% improvement over the standard MOSFET for digital circuits on the same wafer.
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Summary

The characteristics of silicon on insulator MOSFETs are modified to enhance the RF performance by varying channel implants. Without adding new masks or fabrication steps to the standard CMOS process, this approach can be easily applied in standard foundry fabrication. The transconductance, output resistance, and breakdown voltage can be increased...

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FDSOI process technology for subthreshold-operation ultralow-power electronics

Published in:
Proc. of the IEEE, Vol. 98, No. 2, February 2010, pp. 333-342.
Topic:

Summary

Ultralow-power electronics will expand the technological capability of handheld and wireless devices by dramatically improving battery life and portability. In addition to innovative low-power design techniques, a complementary process technology is required to enable the highest performance devices possible while maintaining extremely low power consumption. Transistors optimized for subthreshold operation at 0.3 V may achieve a 97% reduction in switching energy compared to conventional transistors. The process technology described in this article takes advantage of the capacitance and performance benefits of thin-body silicon-oninsulator devices, combined with a workfunction engineered mid-gap metal gate.
READ LESS

Summary

Ultralow-power electronics will expand the technological capability of handheld and wireless devices by dramatically improving battery life and portability. In addition to innovative low-power design techniques, a complementary process technology is required to enable the highest performance devices possible while maintaining extremely low power consumption. Transistors optimized for subthreshold operation...

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Channel engineering of SOI MOSFETs for RF applications

Summary

Channel engineering of SOI MOSFETs is explored by altering ion implantation without adding any new fabrication steps to the standard CMOS process. The effects of implantation on characteristics important for RF applications, such as transconductance, output resistance, breakdown voltage, are compared. Data show that the best overall RF MOSFET has no body and drain-extension implants.
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Summary

Channel engineering of SOI MOSFETs is explored by altering ion implantation without adding any new fabrication steps to the standard CMOS process. The effects of implantation on characteristics important for RF applications, such as transconductance, output resistance, breakdown voltage, are compared. Data show that the best overall RF MOSFET has...

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High density plasma etching of titanium nitride metal gate electrodes for fully depleted silicon-on-insulator subthreshold transistor integration

Published in:
J. Vacuum Sci. Technol. B, Microelectron. Process. Phenon., Vol. 27, No. 6, p. 2472-2479.

Summary

Etching of TiN metal gate materials as a part of an integrated flow to fabricate fully depleted silicon-on-insulator ultralow-power transistors is reported. TiN etching is characterized as a function of source power, bias power, gas composition, and substrate temperature in a high density inductively coupled plasma reactor. Under the conditions used in this work, the TiN etch rate appears to be ion flux limited and exhibits a low ion enhanced etching activation energy of 0.033 eV. Notching of the polysilicon layer above the TiN may occur during the polysilicon overetch step as well as the TiN overetch step. Notching is not significantly affected by charging of the underlying gate dielectric under the conditions used. By optimizing the plasma etch process conditions, TiN:SiO2 selectivity of nearly 1000:1 is achieved, and a two-step TiN main etch and TiN overetch process yields well-defined metal gate structures without severe gate profile artifacts.
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Summary

Etching of TiN metal gate materials as a part of an integrated flow to fabricate fully depleted silicon-on-insulator ultralow-power transistors is reported. TiN etching is characterized as a function of source power, bias power, gas composition, and substrate temperature in a high density inductively coupled plasma reactor. Under the conditions...

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New generation of digital microfluidic devices

Published in:
J. Microelectromech. Syst., Vol. 18, No. 4, August 2009, pp. 845-851.

Summary

This paper reports on the design, fabrication, and performance of micro-sized fluidic devices that use electrowetting to control and transport liquids. Using standard microfabrication techniques, new pumping systems are developed with significantly more capability than open digital microfluidic systems that are often associated with electrowetting. This paper demonstrates that, by integrating closed microchannels with different channel heights and using electrowetting actuation, liquid interfaces can be controlled, and pressure work can be done, resulting in fluid pumping. The operation of two different on-chip pumps and devices that can form water drops is described. In addition, a theory is presented to explain the details of single-electrode actuation in a closed channel.
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Summary

This paper reports on the design, fabrication, and performance of micro-sized fluidic devices that use electrowetting to control and transport liquids. Using standard microfabrication techniques, new pumping systems are developed with significantly more capability than open digital microfluidic systems that are often associated with electrowetting. This paper demonstrates that, by...

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