Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

LaVern A. Starman, PhD


Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) are becoming an integral part of our lives through a wide range of applications, including MEMS accelerators for air bag deployment in vehicles, micromirrors in projection devices, and various sensors for chemical/biological applications. MEMS are a key aspect of ever-increasing significance in a myriad of commercial and military applications. Because of this importance, this thesis utilizes MEMS devices that can deploy and retract an antenna suitably sized for placement on an insect or microrobot for communication purposes. A target monopole antenna with a length of 1 mm was used as a test metric. From this requirement, several MEMS designs using scratch drives and thermal actuators as the basis for powering the motor were developed. Some of the fabricated and tested designs included a gear with side flaps that flip up perpendicular to the substrate; gears that push an antenna beam off the edge of the substrate; and an antenna beam that is moved upwards such that it stands perpendicular to the substrate. These designs had the highest likelihood of success. Other designs included an array of micro gears and guiding beams, a large wheel powered by scratch drives, and a gear with the pawl requiring assembly. For these designs to be successful, several basic modifications would be necessary. The antenna beam that moves into a position perpendicular to the substrate was successfully self-assembled.

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