Imperial College London

Micro Motion Amplification – A Review

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Micro motion amplification

Our Hamlyn Centre researchers provide an overview of micro motion amplification, aiming to assist the development and employment in new applications.

The continuing evolution of microelectronics since the 1950s has been the cornerstone of information technology development, enabling seamless information processing, storage and transfer.

Many motion-active materials have recently emerged, with new methods of integration into actuator components and systems-on-chip.

Micro motion amplification-1Along with established microprocessors, interconnectivity capabilities and emerging powering methods, motion-active materials offer a unique opportunity for the development of interactive millimetre and micrometer scale systems with combined sensing and actuating capabilities.

The amplification of nanoscale material motion to a functional range is a key requirement for motion interaction and practical applications, including medical micro-robotics, micro-vehicles and micro-motion energy harvesting.

Motion amplification concepts include various types of leverage, flextensional mechanisms, unimorphs, micro-walking / micro-motor systems, and structural resonance.

Micro motion amplification-3Our researchers at the Hamlyn Centre reviewed the research state-of-art and product availability. The result shows that the available mechanisms offer a motion gain in the range of 10.

The limiting factor is the aspect ratio of the moving structure that is achievable in the microscale. Flexures offer high gains because they allow the application of input displacement in the close vicinity of an effective pivotal point.

They also involve simple and monolithic fabrication methods allowing combination of multiple amplification stages. Currently, commercially available motion amplifiers can provide strokes as high as 2% of their size.

Micro motion amplification-2The combination of high-force piezoelectric stacks or unimorph beams with compliant structure optimisation methods is expected to make available a new class of high-performance motion translators for microsystems as it offers a systematic and reliable design space for addressing the micro-motion requirements of a large range of applications.

Therefore, motion amplification systems are expected to play a central role in the enabling of millimeter and micrometer scale actuating, robotic, sensing as well as energy systems. 

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This research was supported by EPSRC Programme Grant “Micro-robotics for Surgery (EP/P012779/1)” and was published in IEEE Access (Michail E. Kiziroglou; Burak Temelkuran; Eric M. Yeatman and Guang-Zhong Yang, "Micro motion amplification – A Review").

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Erh-Ya (Asa) Tsui

Erh-Ya (Asa) Tsui
Department of Computing

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Surgery, Research, Robots
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