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Reversing Polarity vs. Bipolar Operation of High Voltage Amplifiers

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

High voltage electronics products from Artimus Robotics feature high voltage amplifiers with integrated high voltage power supplies. These specialized high voltage amplifiers are turnkey products with integrated multichannel control modules (independent control of each output linearly or nonlinear from 0-100%), portable power sources (battery), serial API communication with control of charge/discharge rates, digital control, programmable waveforms, and variable voltage outputs. One attractive capability of these products is the ability to reverse the polarity of the high voltage and the ground leads between cycles.

Figure 1: Reversing polarity

Reversing which lead is high voltage and which is ground between cycles offers a compelling benefit for electrostatic actuators like HASELs. Reversing polarity between cycles reduces the effects of residual charges stored in the composite dielectric structure (charge retention) and enables more consistent performance from cycle to cycle.

Reversing polarity, where the poles alternate between high voltage and ground each cycle, is different from bipolar operation. Bipolar means the voltage alternates between positive voltage and negative voltage each cycle. For example, if the high voltage amplifier is providing 10 kV, bipolar operation would alternate between +10 kV and -10 kV. Compare this with reversing polarity, which is alternating +10 kV and GND.

Figure 2: Bipolar operation

Reversing polarity in high voltage electronics is applicable to not only electroactive polymers like dielectric elastomers and HASELs, but other electrostatic-based applications such as electrolaminates, electropneumatics, electrohydrodynamics, electrostatic chucks, piezoelectrics, electrophotography, electrospinning, electrophoresis, electrorheology, electrostatic flocking, corona charging, MEMS, mass spectrometry, electron beam steering, and ion beam steering.

Want to learn more about high voltage electronics development efforts? Contact Artimus Robotics at

About Artimus Robotics

Artimus Robotics designs and manufactures soft electric actuators and high voltage control electronics. The technology was inspired by nature (muscles) and spun out of the University of Colorado. HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing ELectrostatic) actuator technology operates when electrostatic forces are applied to a flexible polymer pouch and dielectric liquid to drive shape change in a soft structure. These principles can be applied to achieve a contracting motion, expanding motion, or other complex deformations. For more information, please visit Artimus Robotics or contact

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