DEVELOPMENT OF MICRO THERMAL ACTUATOR WITH CAPACTIVE SENSOR
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This thesis describes a finite element analysis (FEA) model of an indirect heating thermal actuator. The heat transfer mechanisms are investigated and the conductive heat transfer is found to be the dominant heat transfer mode. A model simplification method is discussed and used in the analysis to reduce the degrees of freedom and avoid meshing failures. The device is fabricated with the MetalMUMPs process. Measurements of the displacement as a function of the driving voltage are made to verify the FEA model. The results show that the simulation result of the FEA model produced a reasonable agreement with the experimental data. The difference between the FEA result and test result is investigated. A novel thermal actuator with integrated capacitive position sensor is also investigated. This new thermal actuator with an integrated capacitive sensor uses the indirect heating thermal actuator discussed in the first part of the thesis to achieve a new integration method. The displacement of the actuator provided by the sensor enables a feedback control capability. The analytical model, FEA and test results for the capacitive sensor are presented to validate the design concept. The test results show a reasonable agreement with the analytical analysis and the FEA. Finally, a manual displacement tuning application and a PI feedback control application with the designed thermal actuator with integrated capacitive sensor are documented.