Voltage-driven parallel-plate electrostatic actuators suffer from an operation range limit of 30% of the electrostatic gap; this has restrained their application in microelectromechanical systems. In this paper, the travel range of an electrostatic actuator made of a micro-cantilever beam above a fixed electrode is extended quasi-statically to 90% of the capacitor gap by introducing a voltage regulator (controller) circuit designed for low-frequency actuation. The voltage regulator reduces the actuator input voltage, and therefore the electrostatic force, as the beam approaches the fixed electrode so that balance is maintained between the mechanical restoring force and the electrostatic force. The low-frequency actuator also shows evidence of high-order superharmonic resonances that are observed here for the first time in electrostatic actuators.
Towfighian, S., Seleim, A., Abdel-Rahman, E., & Heppler, G. (2011). A large-stroke electrostatic micro-actuator. Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 21(7), 12. doi: 10.1088/0960-1317/21/7/075023
Towfighian, Shahrzad; Seleim, Abdulrahman; Abdel-Rahman, Eihab; and Heppler, Glenn, "A Large-Stroke Electrostatic Micro-Actuator" (2011). Mechanical Engineering Faculty Scholarship. 11.