Comb-drive actuators for large displacements

R. Legtenberg, A.W. Groeneveld, Michael Curt Elwenspoek

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    The design, fabrication and experimental results of lateral-comb-drive actuators for large displacements at low driving voltages is presented. A comparison of several suspension designs is given, and the lateral large deflection behaviour of clamped-clamped beams and a folded flexure design is modelled. An expression for the axial spring constant of folded flexure designs including bending effects from lateral displacements, which reduce the axial stiffness, is also derived. The maximum deflection that can be obtained by comb-drive actuators is bounded by electromechanical side instability. Expressions for the side-instability voltage and the resulting displacement at side instability are given. The electromechanical behaviour around the resonance frequency is described by an equivalent electric circuit. Devices are fabricated by polysilicon surface micromachining techniques using a one-mask fabrication process. Static and dynamic properties are determined experimentally and are compared with theory. Static properties are determined by displacement-to-voltage, capacitance-to-voltage and pull-in voltage measurements. Using a one-port approach, dynamic properties are extracted from measured admittance plots. Typical actuator characteristics are deflections of about 30 μm at driving voltages around 20 V, a resonance frequency around 1.6 kHz and a quality factor of approximately 3.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)320-329
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of micromechanics and microengineering
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 1996


    • EWI-13564
    • IR-24275
    • METIS-129075

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