Rakesh Murthy

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dan Popa


The top down approach is a commonly employed miniaturization pathway into micro and nanomanufacturing. Its popularity is due to the fact that it adapts traditionally engineered macro scale positioning, manipulation and processing technology with micro and nano scale precision and part sizes. However, state of the art top down systems such as the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) span four to five orders of magnitude larger than the parts being handled. This dissertation addresses the need for creating millimeter size robotic positioning technology that closes the size gap between equipment and part sizes. Such microrobot manufacturing methodology comprising of micro component-level design, fabrication and high yield assembly, system-level packaging, modeling, precision evaluation and control is presented and exemplified using two classes of microrobots. Both microrobots incorporate Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) to combine high precision and low foot-print. The first microrobot type, the "ARRIpede" is a multi legged autonomous crawler, and is designed to operate as a mobile unit enabling parts transfer in a nanoassembly environment. An embodiment of this microrobot is demonstrated for planar motions with three degrees of freedom (XY?). The microrobot consists of a MEMS die "belly" spanning 10mm x 10mm x 1mm with in-plane electrothermal actuators and vertically assembled legs, and an electronic "backpack" spanning 15mmx15mmx10mm to generate a leg gait sequence. By incorporating bulk micromachined parts and precise epoxy dispensing at the assembled leg joint, the microrobot has a high payload bearing capacity (at least 9g). Simulations with a nonholonomic robot predict microcrawler velocities of a few mm/s under realistic assumptions. The open loop crawling velocity is experimentally characterized for various actuator frequencies and a close match with simulations is observed. A Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) based controller consisting of a high magnification camera and a laser displacement sensor for feedback is implemented. The open/closed loop positioning repeatabilities are evaluated and compared. . The second micro robot called the "AFAM" (Articulated Four Axes Micro Robot) is a fixed base articulated design targeting micro and nano scale manipulation and probing applications. An embodiment of this microrobot is constructed incorporating four degrees of freedom (X, Y, Pitch and Yaw), occupying a total volume of 3mm x 2mm x 1mm, and operating within a workspace envelope of 50microns x 50microns x 75microns. This is by far the largest operating envelope of any other independent MEMS positioner with non-planar dexterity. A cable based transmission and motion amplification mechanism is designed to achieve the pitch and yaw degrees of freedom. The de-coupled motion of the microrobot is achieved by kinematic identification of the Jacobian and using a 3D flexure based kinematic model of the microrobot. By using the derived kinematics, the microrobot is driven to create nanoindents on a polymer surface. The end-effector positioning accuracy, repeatability and resolution are characterized using the nanoindents.


Electrical and Computer Engineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington