Flexoelectricity, an electromechanical coupling effect, exhibits two opposite electromechanical properties. One is the direct flexoelectric effect that mechanical strain gradient induces an electric polarization (or electric field); the other is the inverse flexoelectric effect that polarization (or electric field) gradient induces internal stress (or strain). The later can serve as an actuation mechanism to control the static deformation of flexible structures. This study focuses on an application of the inverse flexoelectric effect to the static displacement control of a cantilever beam. The flexoelectric layer is covered with an electrode layer on the bottom surface and an AFM probe tip on the top surface in order to generate an inhomogeneous electric field when powered. The control force induced by the inverse flexoelectric effect is evaluated and its spatial distribution resembles a Dirac delta function. Therefore, a “buckling” characteristic happens at the contact point of the beam under the inverse flexoelectric control. The deflection results of the cantilever beam with respect to the AFM probe tip radius indicate that a smaller AFM probe tip achieves a more effective control effect. To evaluate the control effectiveness, the flexoelectric deflections are also compared with those resulting from the converse piezoelectric effect. It is evident that the inverse flexoelectric effect provides much better localized static deflection control of.flexible beams.

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