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Proceedings Paper

Laterally driven electrostatic actuators with extended travel range
Author(s): Jie Su; Heng Yang; Wolfgang Porod; Patrick Fay; Gary H. Bernstein
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Paper Abstract

A novel laterally driven mechanism is proposed and studied to solve the pull-in problem of electrostatic actuation in MEMS for use in simple Fabry-Perot interferometers (FPI) with a large tuning range. This method is to build electrodes that are not directly opposite to each other, but rather are laterally shifted. Mathematica calculations show that laterally driven beams require a smaller operating voltage than do some other methods, and cover nearly the full travel range. It is also found that driving performance is influenced by the structure's lateral gap. Too small a lateral gap still yields pull-in failure. For excessively large lateral gap, the pull-in function is not effective. Smaller lateral gaps have lower operating voltage, but larger lateral gaps have better operating stability. A test structure consisting of 40 aluminum beams suspended across two poles has been designed and fabricated. Directly below each test beam is located a capacitive test electrode. Next to each test electrode are two lateral driving electrodes. A driving voltage is applied across the aluminum test beams and lateral electrodes, pulling down the beam and causing the capacitance to change between the test beam and test electrode. By measuring this change, the lateral drive method is verified and characterized.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 January 2006
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 6114, MOEMS Display, Imaging, and Miniaturized Microsystems IV, 61140P (23 January 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.645380
Show Author Affiliations
Jie Su, Univ. of Notre Dame (United States)
Heng Yang, Univ. of Notre Dame (United States)
Wolfgang Porod, Univ. of Notre Dame (United States)
Patrick Fay, Univ. of Notre Dame (United States)
Gary H. Bernstein, Univ. of Notre Dame (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6114:
MOEMS Display, Imaging, and Miniaturized Microsystems IV
Hakan Ürey; David L. Dickensheets; Bishnu P. Gogoi, Editor(s)

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