Sunday, September 24, 2006

US Patent 7109643 - Carbon Nanofiber Sheet Actuator

Microactuators are a thriving field with applications in mechanical switches, optical relays, microrobotics, etc. A variety of materials may be used for such microactuators including materials exhibiting piezoelectric, electrostrictive, or shape memory effects. This patent claims an actuator which uses carbon nanofiber material to actuate a polymer sheet film. Claim 1 reads:

1. An actuator, comprising: a flexible sheet member being made of a polymer material; and electrodes being respectively provided on both faces of said sheet member, said electrodes being mainly made of carbon nano fibers, wherein the carbon nano fibers of said electrodes rise with respect to said sheet member, and one end of the carbon nano fibers bite into said sheet member.