Journal article

Optimization of the force and power consumption of a microfabricated magnetic actuator

The force (F) and the power consumption (P ) of a magnetic actuator are modeled, measured and optimized in the context of developing micro-actuators for large arrays, such as in portable tactile displays for the visually impaired. We present a novel analytical approach complemented with finite element simulation (FEM) and experiment validation, showing that the optimization process can be performed considering a single figure of merit. The magnetic actuator is a disc-shaped permanent magnet displaced by planar microcoil. Numerous design parameters are evaluated, including the width and separation of the coil traces, the trace thickness, number of turns and the maximum and minimum radius of the coil. We obtained experimental values ranging from 2 to 12 mN/ sqrt(W) using up to 2-layer coils of both microfabricated and commercial printed circuit board (PCB) technologies. This performance can be further improved by a factor of two by adopting a 6-layer technology. The method can be applied to a wide range of electromagnetic actuators.

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