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MEMS Design and Microfabrication

Winter, 2015

DESIGN ASSIGNMENT #2 (total: 33 points)

Due Date: April. 5, before midnight. Please follow the submission instructions at the end
Task #1: Using ANSYS Multiphysics, conduct simulation of electrostatic actuation and
capacitive position sensing (refer to device dimensions.jpg). The device consists of an
electrostatic comb-drive actuator on one side and a capacitive position sensor on the other
side. The device will be microfabricated via the SOIMUMPs process.
Instead of creating the solid model of the device in SolidWorks and import it into
ANSYS, two sets of batch codes are provided to generate the solid model directly in
ANSYS. For electrostatic actuation simulation, use the commands in actuation
model.txt; for capacitive sensing simulation, use the commands in capacitor model.txt.
For simulation purpose, the following model simplifications were made to the solid
model (These changes only apply to ANSYS model, but not the Ledit drawing).

Reduce the original pad size of 100m100m to 30m30m.

Ignore the metal layer on pads.

Only simulate one pair of combs (same model as the one shown in tutorial).
The material properties of the silicon structural layer are given in the following table.
Assume the device operates in air.
Table 1. Material Properties of silicon structural layer (MKSV units).
Young's modulus
Poissons ratio

129e3 MPa

Question 1: [3 points] What is the purpose of each model simplification step?

Question 2: [3 points] Explain how you would calculate the overall
actuation/sensing device performance based on the simulation results from one
pair of comb fingers.
Question 3: [2 points] By only modifying the flexure dimensions (the two
cantilever springs), how would you increase the sensors sensing resolution?

Task #2: Based on the theoretical models of comb-drive actuator and capacitive sensor
discussed in lectures, calculate the output displacements and capacitance changes of the
same device at actuation voltages of 0V, 30V, 60V, 90V, and 120V.

Question 4: [4 points] What is the advantage/disadvantage of an electrostatic

actuator in terms of power requirement and usage? How does it compare to an
electrothermal actuator?

Task #3: In L-Edit Student Version, layout the entire device using the SOIMUMPs
process. A SOIMUMPs Ledit template is provided. The pad thickness of 20m in
drawing is only for ANSYS simulation to elevate the suspended structures. Use 10m for
pad thickness, the same thickness as the silicon structural layer defined in SOIMUMPs in
L-Edit device layout. Remember to run DRC (design rule checker) to verify no design
rules are violated.
Question 5: [3 points] What is the purpose of design rule checker? Give an
example of design rule violation and a possible consequence.
What to Submit: Please zip all files (report in PDF format and L-Edit file) and rename
the Zip file as Project 2--last name, first name. Submit the .Zip file to with email subject Project 2last name, first name. Only
electronic copy is accepted.
1. Report: the report should not be shorter than 3 pages but should not exceed eight
pages. The report must include the following results
(1) answers to the above Question 1 Question 5;
(2) [2 points] a figure showing ANSYS simulation result (contour plot) of electric
potential distribution of two adjacent comb finger gaps at 120V;
(3) [2 points] two curves in a single figure showing both theoretical and ANSYS
simulation results of output displacements vs. actuation voltage squared (0V2,
900V2, 3600V2, 8100V2, and 14400V2). Make sure the simulation results are
manipulated to represent the entire device performance (refer to Question 2).
(4) [2 points] two curves in a single figure showing both theoretical and ANSYS
simulation results of capacitance changes of the position sensor vs. output
displacements of the comb-drive actuator. To change the comb finger separation
in the solid model, please refer to the tutorial notes.
(5) [4 points] comparisons of the theoretical and ANSYS simulation results in (3) and
(4), and discuss the possible reasons/sources for the differences between
theoretical and ANSYS simulation results.
2. L-Edit file [8 points]