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This paper studies analytically and numerically the spring softening and hardening phenomena that occur in electrostatically actuated microelectromechanical systems comb drive resonators utilizing folded suspension beams. An analytical expression for the electrostatic force generated between the combs of the rotor and the stator is derived and takes into account both the transverse and longitudinal capacitances present. After formulating the problem, the resulting stiff differential equations are solved analytically using the method of multiple scales, and a closed-form solution is obtained. Furthermore, the nonlinear boundary value problem that describes the dynamics of inextensional spring beams is solved using straightforward perturbation to obtain the linear and nonlinear spring constants of the beam. The analytical solution is verified numerically using a Matlab/Simulink environment, and the results from both analyses exhibit excellent agreement. Stability analysis based on phase plane trajectory is also presented and fully explains previously reported empirical results that lacked sufficient theoretical description. Finally, the proposed solutions are, once again, verified with previously published measurement results. The closed-form solutions provided are easy to apply and enable predicting the actual behavior of resonators and gyroscopes with similar structures.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2011