Nano Electrokinetic actuators are a novel propulsion method for underwater vehicles. Of significant relevance is the ability to create faster more maneuverable underwater vehicles. These novel actuators operate on a fundamentally different principle from the traditional actuator technologies used to date. The technology takes advantage of electroosmosis to enable fluid pumping using electric fields. The application is extensively used in micro fluidic devices. Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a new class of fluid microano actuators with superior performance characteristics. The specific characteristics include greater force and displacement rate as well as a lower power requirements. In these systems operationally longevity comes at the cost in battery size or lower performance requirements.
The lower power requirement for the actuation system frees up more operational life for critical components such as sensors. Lack of moving parts allows the system to be highly robust silent and reliable.