Casimir and hydrodynamic dissipation forces can strongly influence the actuation of microelectromechanical systems in ambient conditions. The dissipative and stiction dynamics of an actuating system is shown to depend on surface physical processes related to fluid slip and the size of the actuating components. Using phase change materials the Casimir force magnitude can be modulated via amorphous-crystalline phase transitions. The dissipative motion between amorphous coated phase change material components can be changed towards stiction upon crystallization and suitable choice of restoring spring constants. By contrast, amorphization can augment switching from stiction to dissipative dynamics. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
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