Electrostatic curved electrode actuators

  • Legtenberg R
  • Gilbert J
  • Senturia S
 et al. 
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This paper presents the design and performance of an electrostatic
actuator consisting of a laterally compliant cantilever beam and
a fixed curved electrode, both suspended above a ground plane. A
theoretical description of the static behavior of the cantilever
as it is pulled into contact with the rigid fixed-electrode structure
is given. Two models are presented: a simplified semi-analytical
model based on energy methods, and fully three-dimensional (3-D)
coupled electromechanical numerical simulations using CoSolve-EM.
The two models are in qualitative agreement with each other, and
predict stable actuator behavior when the beam deflection becomes
constrained by the curved electrode geometry before electrostatic
pull-in can occur. The pull-in behavior depends on the shape of the
curved electrode. Test devices have been fabricated by polysilicon
surface micromachining techniques. Experimental results confirm the
basic theoretical results. Stable behavior with relatively large
displacements and forces can be generated by these curved electrode
actuators. Depending on the design, or as a result of geometrical
imperfections, regions of unstable (pull-in) deflection behavior
are also observed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Actuator
  • Electrode shape
  • Electrostatic
  • Theoretical model(ling)

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  • Rob Legtenberg

  • John Gilbert

  • Stephen D. Senturia

  • Miko Elwenspoek

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