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Applications of Shape Memory

Alloys to MEMS
MAE 268

Greg Jarmer and Garrett Uyema


Outline of Presentation
Shape Memory Alloys (SMA)
Advantages of SMAs for actuation of
MEMS Devices
Example of an Application: Microgripper
Recommended Improvements of
Microgripper
Future Applications of SMA in MEMS
Shape Memory Alloys
Principles of Shape Memory Alloys
Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) are alloys that
exhibit the shape memory effect.
The shape memory effect is the process of
restoring a deformed material back to an
initial shape through a thermally induced
crystalline transformation
The crystalline transformation occurs between
a low temperature ductile martensitic phase
and a high temperature high strength
austenitic phase.
Shape Memory Alloys
Advantages of SMAs in MEMS
The main advantages of SMAs for micro-
actuation are:
SMAs are capable of producing a large
actuation force
SMAs are capable of producing large
displacements
SMAs are activated through thermal heating
Disadvantages of SMAs in
MEMS
The main disadvantages of SMAs are:
Sensitivity of material properties in fabrication
Residual Stresss developed in thin films
Nonlinearity of actuation force
Lower maximum frequency compared to other
microactuator devices
Verification of Activation Force with
FEA
Microgripper
Theory of Operation
2 Main designs of microgrippers
Location of TiNi thin film
SMA actuation
Transformation from martensite to
austenite

heating

SMA thin film on the inside


Microgripper
Fabrication of the Microgripper
2 identical cantilevers and a silicon spacer
Processes used:
Deposit and etch
Thin film sputtering
Annealing
Eutectic bonding
Recommended Improvements of
Microgripper
Be able to control
hysteresis temperature
range
Change composition of
SMA
Can shift hysteresis curve
left or right
Alloy TiNi with another
element such as Cu
Recommended Improvements of
Microgripper
Reduce residual
stress in the thin film
Need to reduce
thermal mismatch
between NiTi and Si
substrate
Add a layer of
tungsten (W)
Difference in the
coefficients of thermal
expansion is reduced
Recommended Improvements of
Microgripper
Increase the
maximum frequency
Decrease the time it
takes for phase
transformation to
occur
Increase surface area
to volume ratio
Heat can be dissipated
faster
Future Applications of
Microgrippers
Grab tiny foreign
objects for removal
from the body
Facilitates access to
intricate regions of the
body
Microassembly for
MEMS devices
Intravascular Therapy
Future Applications of SMA in
MEMS
MEMS and bioMEMS applications
Eliminate vibrations of read/write heads in
hard disk drives
Microstents
Promote flow in tubular passages
Reinforce weak blood vessels
Microsurgery
Cardiovascular applications
Orthopedic applications
Future Applications of SMA in
MEMS

Simon filter

Microstents

SMA basket

Microwrapper