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Using dynamic voltage drive in a parallel-plate electrostatic actuator for full-gap travel range and positioning

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3 Author(s)
Rocha, L.A. ; Dept. of Microelectron., Delft Univ. of Technol., Netherlands ; Cretu, E. ; Wolffenbuttel, R.F.

The nonlinear dynamics of the parallel-plate electrostatically driven microstructure have been investigated with the objective of finding a dynamic voltage drive suitable for full-gap operation. Nonlinear dynamic modeling with phase-portrait presentation of both position and velocity of a realistic microstructure demonstrate that instability is avoided by a timely and sufficient reduction of the drive voltage. The simulation results are confirmed by experiments on devices fabricated in an epi-poly process. A 5.5-V peak harmonic drive voltage with frequency higher than 300 Hz allows repetitive microstructure motion up to 70% of gap without position feedback. The results of the analysis have been applied to the design of a new concept for positioning beyond the static pull-in limitation that does include position feedback. The measured instantaneous actuator displacement is compared with the desired displacement setting and, unlike traditional feedback, the voltage applied to the actuator is changed according to the comparison result between two values. The "low" level is below the static pull-in voltage and opposes the motion, thus bringing the structure back into a stable regime, while the "high" level is larger than the static pull-in voltage and will push the structure beyond the static pull-in displacement. Operation is limited only by the position jitter due to the time delay introduced by the readout circuits. Measurements confirm flexible operation up to a mechanical stopper positioned at 2 μm of the 2.25 μm wide gap with a 30 nm ripple.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 1 )