Development of Polyimide/SMA Thin-Film Actuator
Ti-Ni-Cu shape memory alloy (SMA) thin films were sputter-deposited on heated polyimide substrates. The (Ni,Cu) rich Ti-Ni-Cu films deposited at a substrate temperature of 543 K were found to possess a high martensitic transformation temperature above room temperature over a wide range of Cu content from 7 to 23 at%, which allows stable production of actuators that operate at room temperature. Additional deposition of a Cu film onto the Ti-Ni-Cu films facilitated the soldering of wires onto the actuators and also decreased the power consumption and response time of the actuator. The force of a polyimide/Ti-Ni-Cu SMA actuator could be increased merely by increasing the thickness of the polyimide film. An actuator composed of a 125 m thick polyimide film and an 8 m thick TiNiCu film was able to lift a 13.5 g weight. Furthermore, a Ti-Ni-Cu film could be pattern etched on a polyimide film to produce a circuit. The results indicate that a polyimide/SMA film actuator is a promising simple actuator that can be produced by simply cutting out an appropriately shaped piece with scissors or by punching and then connecting the two edges to a battery by soldering.
Jian-Feng Nie and Allan Morton
A. Ishida and M. Sato, "Development of Polyimide/SMA Thin-Film Actuator", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 654-656, pp. 2075-2078, 2010