Individually controlled conducting polymer tri-layer microactuators
We are currently developing a range of microdevices based on polypyrrole (PPy) tri-layer microactuators that function in air. Here, we present recently developed microfabrication and patterning methods using photolithography for both thick, membrane and thin film poly(vinylidene difluoride) (PVDF) based PPy tri-layer actuators. We fabricated monolithically integrated, articulated actuator devices, i.e. comprising individually controllable actuators. We also introduce an interface for such PPy actuators based on a flexible printed circuit board, comprising the electrical contacts, into which the actuator device was inserted. Compartive evaluations showed that the microfabricated tri-layer actuators functioned as good as the normally fabricated actuators. The new interface seemed to actually improve the actuator performance.