Magnetic micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) present new class of micro-scale devices that incorporate magnetic materials as sensing or active elements. It exploits the properties of magnetic materials by incorporating them in conventional microfabricated systems. Although their application for microactuation purposes has been limited, the prospects of remote control and large displacements renders them useful, and even unavoidable in certain circumstances. Recognizing the fact that poor electromagnetic flux in micro domain happens to be the most stringent limitation, measures to improve the magnetic field generated by an electromagnetic coil are studied using a microactuator that incorporates a coil and a hard magnetic film deposited on a flexure membrane. This paper describes the design of the microactuator, analysis and optimization that maximizes the deflection. This study also presents an overview of magnetic microactuators covering the scaling effects, materials and processes used in their fabrication and critical review of their limitations.

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