The advent of microelectromechanical systems in the last decade has produced rapid progress in the efforts of miniaturising sensors and actuators. However, the availability of the materials with required characteristics has been one of the major limitations in accelerating these efforts. Piezoelectric polymers are a class of materials with great potential and promise for these applications. Because of their ideally suitable characteristics such as lightweight, flexibility and reasonably good force/displacement, they make good candidates for actuators. In this paper, the design and fabrication of a Unimorph cantilever actuator using piezoelectric polymer with an electroplated layer of a nickel alloy has been described. The simulation and modelling of the cantilever is used to optimise the design parameters and materials. Further, the test results have also been presented with a brief analysis.
The authors wish to express their gratitude to CRC MicroTechnology, who provided funding for this research, and thank all their colleagues in the microtechnology research group at IRIS for their great help and cooperation.