Author ORCID Identifier

Shahrzad Towfighian:

Ronald Miles:

Document Type


Publication Date



MEMS devices, finite-element analysis, MEMS technology, electronic circuits, vibrometer, oscillators, cantilever, modal analysis, sensors, electrostatics


In this study, a linear electrostatic MEMS actuator is introduced. The system consists of a MEMS cantilever beam with combined parallel-plate and electrostatic levitation forces. By using these two forcing methods simultaneously, the static response and natural frequency can be made to vary linearly with the voltage. The static response shows a linear increase of 90 nm/V and is maintained for more than 12μm of the tip displacement. The natural frequency shows a linear increase of 16 Hz/V and is maintained throughout a 2.9 kHz shift in the natural frequency. This wide range of linear displacement and frequency tunability is extremely useful for MEMS sensors and actuators, which suffer from the inherent nonlinearity of electrostatic forces. A theoretical model of the system is derived and validated with experimental data. Static response, natural frequency, and frequency response calculations are performed. Merging these two mechanisms enables high oscillation branches for a wide range of frequencies with potential applications in MEMS filters, oscillators, and sensors.

Publisher Attribution

Mark Pallaya, Ronald N. Miles, and Shahrzad Towfighian, Journal of Applied Physics, 126, 014501, (2019); used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

Publisher version can be found here:

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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