Micro magnetic silicone elastomer membrane actuator

Melvin Khoo, Chang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


We present results of the design, fabrication, and testing of a microfabricated, membrane-type magnetic actuator. Magnetic pieces made of electroplated Permalloy (Ni 80 Fe 20 ) are embedded in a thin flexible membrane made of silicone elastomer. When an external magnetic field is applied, a torque generated on the magnetic pieces produces membrane displacement. Permalloy pieces that are 100-μm-wide, 870-μ-long, and 22-μ-thick are strategically positioned in a 2-mm-square, 40-μ-thick polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane (Sylgard 184). This design, produced through numerical simulations, is optimized to realize large membrane displacements. Tests performed on this membrane actuator showed displacements >80 μm in the presence of a 2.85 × 10 5 A/m external magnetic field. Larger displacements are possible with greater magnetization fields. This type of membrane actuator can be applied to the fabrication of tetherless micropumps for use in microfluidic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-266
Number of pages8
JournalSensors and Actuators, A: Physical
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 15 2001


  • Magnetic actuation
  • Membrane
  • Microactuator
  • Permalloy
  • Silicone rubber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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