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Elasto-Electrostatic Analysis of Circular Microplates Used in Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers

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2 Author(s)
Ahmad, B. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Indian Inst. of Sci., Bangalore, India ; Pratap, R.

The active structural component of a capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducer (CMUT) is the top plate which vibrates under the influence of a time-varying electrostatic force thereby producing ultrasound waves of the desired frequency in the surrounding medium. Analysis of MEMS devices which rely on electrostatic actuation is complicated due to the fact that the structural deformations alter the electrostatic forces, which redistribute and modify the applied loads. Hence, it becomes imperative to consider the electrostatics-structure coupling aspect in the design of these devices. This paper presents an approximate analytical solution for the static deflection of a thin, clamped circular plate caused by electrostatic forces which are inherently nonlinear. Traditionally, finite element simulations using some commercial software such as ANSYS are employed to determine the structural deflections caused by electrostatic forces. Since the structural deformation alters the electrostatic field, a coupled-field simulation is required wherein the electrostatic mesh is continuously updated to coincide with the deflection of the structure. Such simulations are extremely time consuming, in addition to being nontransparent and somewhat hard to implement. We employ the classical thin-plate theory which is adequate when the ratio of the diameter to thickness of the plate is very large, a situation commonly prevalent in many MEMS devices, especially the CMUTs. We solve the thin-plate electrostatic-elastic equation using the Galerkin-weighted residual technique, under the assumption that the deflections are small in comparison to the thickness of the plate. The evaluation of the electrostatic force between the two plates is simplified due to the fact that the electrostatic gap is much smaller than the lateral dimensions of the device. The results obtained are compared to those found from ANSYS simulations and an excellent agreement is observed between the two. The pull-in volt- - age predicted by our model is close to the value predicted by ANSYS simulations.

Published in:

Sensors Journal, IEEE  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 11 )