Flexible printed circuit board actuators

Junseok Lee, Youngsu Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Out-of-plane actuators are made possible by the breaking of planar symmetry. In this paper, we present a thin-film out-of-plane electrostatic actuator for a flexible printed circuit board (FPCB) that can be fabricated with a single step of the conventional manufacturing process. No other components are required for actuation except a single sheet of the FPCB, and it works based on the planar asymmetry resulting from asymmetrically patterned top and bottom electrodes on each side of the polyimide film. With the structural asymmetry, the application of a high voltage in the order of kilovolts results in the asymmetry of the electric fields and the body force density, which generates the bending moment that leads to macroscopic deformations. We applied the finite element method to examine the asymmetry induced by the difference in the electrodes. In the experiment, the displacement responses to step input and square wave input of various frequencies were analyzed. It was found that our actuator constitutes an underdamped system, exhibiting resonance characteristics. The maximum oscillatory amplitude was determined at resonance, and the relationship between the displacement and the applied voltage was investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125019
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 9
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support of Professor Maurizio Porfiri, New York University, for the COMSOL simulation used in this study. This work is supported by the Global Frontier R&D Program on ‘Human-centered Interaction for Coexistence’ through the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIP) (2011-0031425).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • electrostatic actuators
  • flexible printed circuit board
  • thin-film acuators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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