Nowadays, the integration of micro-actuators in the micro-systems poses a significant problem due to the complex designs as well as due to the contact power supply systems (e.g., via micro-batteries or via wires). A way to overcome this problem is to provide remote power supply and control to the bistable micro-actuators. It is mainly done by RF (radio-frequency) or optical means. As a consequence, the stability of the two positions of this kind of micro-actuators and the switching time evolution between them have to be studied to determine the robustness of the contactless bistable micro-actuators.
In this work, these system parameters were analysed by the ANOVA (Analysis Of Variance) method during a longlife test for 8 different configurations (Design of Experiments) of bistable micro-actuators controlled by laser. Transient and permanent regimes were observed for the stability of the positions, for the standard deviation around the positions and for the switching time as well. In each case, the transient regime represented only 3% of the total duration of the longlife test. A very good stabilisation was observed in the permanent regime whereas a decrease of the stroke was observed in the transient regime. As a consequence, during this regime, the switching time was reduced compared with the regular values (few seconds, optical power dependent). In the permanent regime, a progressive increase of this factor was noted that indicated the progressive fatigue of the bistable micro-actuator. A second indicator of the micro-actuator fatigue was given by the increase of the standard deviation of the stable position after cycle number 9000. Above this point, the micro-actuator was vibrating during the functioning even if the stability remained acceptable.