Author ORCID Identifier

Shahrzad Towfighian -

Document Type


Publication Date



repulsive force, electrostatic levitation, MEMS switch, reliability, release, pull-in stability


In this study an electrostatic MEMS beam is experimentally released from pull-in using electrostatic levitation. A MEMS cantilever with a parallel plate electrode configuration is pulled-in by applying a voltage above the pull-in threshold. Two more electrodes are fixed to the substrate on both sides of the beam to create electrostatic levitation. Large voltage pulses upwards of 100 V are applied to the side electrodes to release the pulled-in beam. A high voltage is needed to overcome the stronger parallel plate electrostatic force and stiction forces, which hold the beam in its pulled-in position. A relationship between bias voltage and release voltage is experimentally extracted. This method of releasing pulled in beams is shown to be reliable and repeatable without causing any major damage to the cantilever or electrodes. This is of great interest for any MEMS component that suffers from the pull-in instability, which is usually irreversible and permanently destroys the device, as it allows pulled-in structures to be released and reused. It also has a promising application in MEMS switches by opening up the possibility of a normally closed switch as opposed to current MEMS switches, which are normally open.

Publisher Attribution

Applied Physical Letters 113, 213102 (2018);

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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