Optimized comb-drive finger shape for shock-resistant actuation

Johannes Bernardus Charles Engelen, Leon Abelmann, Michael Curt Elwenspoek

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    14 Citations (Scopus)
    87 Downloads (Pure)


    This work presents the analytical solution, finite-element analysis, realization and measurement of comb drives with finger shapes optimized for shock-resistant actuation. The available force for actuating an external load determines how large shock forces can be compensated for. The optimized finger shape provides much more available force than the standard straight finger shape, especially at large displacements. A graphical method is presented to determine whether stable voltage control is possible for a given available force curve. An analytical expression is presented for the finger shape that provides a constant large available force over the actuation range. The new finger shape is asymmetric, and the unit-cell width is equal to the unit-cell width of standard straight fingers that are commonly used, and can be used in all applications where a large force is required. Because the unit-cell width is not increased, straight fingers can be replaced by the new finger shape without changing the rest of the design. It is especially suited for shock-resistant positioning and for applications where a constant force is desired.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number105003
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of micromechanics and microengineering
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010


    • shock-resistant actuation
    • EWI-18539
    • METIS-271054
    • Electrostatic comb drive
    • MEMS actuators
    • optimized comb finger shape


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