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Electrically Controlled Actuation of Strained Nanomembranes

: Enderlein, T.; Nestler, J.; Stiehl, C.; Morschhauser, A.; Otto, T.


Physica status solidi. A 216 (2019), Nr.19, Art. 1800840, 12 S.
ISSN: 0031-8965
ISSN: 1862-6300
ISSN: 1521-396X
ISSN: 1862-6319
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

Strained nanomembranes can, if released from a substrate, form tubular devices and other 3D‐objects for various sensor and actuator applications. In this study, controlled release and thus the actuation of strained nanomembranes by dissolving a sacrificial layer in a liquid environment by an electrical current is investigated and integrated tubular structures in microfluidic chips are demonstrated. Besides the mere generation of tubular devices, the utilization of an electrical current for the actuation of strained nanomembranes makes this approach ideal for the integration in advanced Lab‐on‐a‐Chip systems. Some of the advantages to current methods are: the ability to actuate the membranes in a triggered and speed controllable fashion; in case of applications in liquid environments, no need of transferring or drying the tubular devices; fabrication is carried out by typical wafer level MEMS‐processes. The fabricated demonstrator chips are composed of Borofloat borosilicate float glass substrates, a sputtered metal sacrificial layer, a strained nanomembrane layer and a polymer based liquid reservoir or channel system. The actuation concept is investigated for different electrical currents and voltages, layer material combinations and a range of widths and diameters of the tubular structures. Likewise the influence of different electrolytic liquids and liquid confinements are studied.