A custom rotary SQUIGGLE® motor has been developed that sets new benchmarks for small motor size, high position resolution, and high torque without gear reduction. Its capabilities cannot be achieved with conventional electromagnetic motors. It consists of piezoelectric plates mounted on a square flexible tube. The plates are actuated via voltage waveforms 90° out of phase at the resonant frequency of the device to create rotary motion.

The motors were incorporated into a two-axis postioner that was designed for fiber-fed spectroscopy for ground-based and space-based projects. The positioner enables large-scale celestial object surveys to take place in a practical amount of time.

This work was done by Charles D. Fisher, Mircea Badescu, and David F. Braun of Caltech and Rob Culhane of New Scale Technologies for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information about the motor and the positioner, visit the following sites:

http://www.newscaletech.com/custom_overview.html#rotary   http://www.newscaletech.com/app_notes/Cobra-JPL-article.html 


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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