This paper describes an optimization of PZT unimorph membrane microactuators in view of their application to deformable mirrors (DMs). PZT unimorph actuators of various electrode designs, silicon membrane thickness, and membrane sizes were fabricated and characterized. A mathematical model was developed to further assist the optimization of membrane thickness and electrode sizes, and excellent agreement with experiment was obtained. For a 2.5mm diameter actuator with 2μm thick PZT and 15μm thick silicon membrane, the measured vertical stroke was 5.4μm at 50V. The measured resonant frequency of the unimorph actuator was 47kHz, far exceeding the bandwidth requirement of most DMs (~1kHz).

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