A tunable symmetric bistable micro-machined mechanism with monolithic structure is presented. The mechanism consists of two sets of pre-shaped beams of similar properties and dimensions; however with one set is curved opposite to the other. The bistability is induced by creating a negative stiffness behavior at the initial position of the moving part to break its stability. This is possible at a certain electrothermal axial loading of both beam sets. The active bistability is symmetric with respect to the initial position. The distance between stable positions is tunable with the applied electrothermal voltages. The mechanism can be used as a tunable bi-directional actuator with different applied voltages. The design and concept are demonstrated based on finite-element simulations and experimental measurements.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research is supported by KAUST research fund.