Fabrication of mircohands based on electroactive polymer actuators
Trilayer electroactive polymer actuators comprising of two active polymer layers separated by an electrolyte storage layer in between are capable of working in air. Ions are shuttled between the two active layers via the middle inactive layer during an electrochemical switching, which leads to a bending motion like the bending of a cantilever beam under a load. The trilayer actuators can be patterned as a hand and fingers like structures. Different parts of the hand and fingers like structures can be actuated individually to generate a multidegree freedom motion. In this paper, we have patterned a microhand made up of one finger and one palm, and three fingers and one palm structures. The displacement and force outputs of the finger and palm are measured by actuating the fingers and palms individually. The preliminary results demonstrate the potential of the microhands as novel micro electromechanical systems.