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MEMS, RF switch, Dynamics, Nonlinear response, electrostatic levitation force, tunability, potential energy, reliability


This paper investigates the characteristics of a micro-switch that uses two side electrodes to open a normally closed switch. The side electrodes surround the xed electrode in the well-known gap-closing electrode configuration. The side electrodes can open a closed switch and be tuned to respond appropriately to outside forces. The combined electrode system dramatically improves the control of a standard gap-closing electrode configuration. In conventional switches, a DC voltage above a certain value closes the switch. To re-open the switch, the voltage difference is reduced to peel o the moving electrode. Currently the contact area is carefully designed to avoid stiction, but the degradation over time and stiction forces can cause a permanent failure. In this work, opening occurs by feeding the side electrodes a voltage beyond a certain value that results in a levitation force. Even if the degradation in the surfaces happen, the switch can open by increasing the side voltages. The characteristics of the combined actuation system are thoroughly analyzed and include the static pull-in, static displacement, release voltage, dynamic pull-in, frequency response, and basins of at- traction. The results are validated by the experimental tests. The levitation-based micro-switch improves the system tunability as the sensitivity and switching thresholds can be adjusted.

Publisher Attribution

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Nonlinear Dynamics. The final authenticated version is available online at:

Available for download on Wednesday, April 27, 2022