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This paper considers the electromechanical response of electrostatic actuators that are driven by both voltage and charge. The model system is an electrostatic actuator in which the suspended electrode is subjected to a driving voltage and the fixed electrode, which is electrostatically floating, is loaded by charge. The response of the system is analyzed using energy methods, and it is shown that the system has two distinct pull-in voltages. It is also shown that the amplitude of charge on the floating electrode is proportional to the average of these two pull-in voltages. Test-actuators were designed, fabricated, and characterized, and their measured response validates the theoretical predictions. A nondisruptive measurement of charge is proposed and demonstrated which enables to monitor charge decay over time.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011