Contact us

My IOPscience

Large deflections of microbeams under electrostatic loads

This article has been downloaded from IOPscience. Please scroll down to see the full text article. 2004 J. Micromech. Microeng. 14 365 (http://iopscience.iop.org/0960-1317/14/3/008) View the table of contents for this issue, or go to the journal homepage for more

Download details: IP Address: The article was downloaded on 10/06/2010 at 11:52

Please note that terms and conditions apply.

Italy 2 Dipartimento di Meccanica. Corso Duca degli Abruzzi.iop. the proposed method appears more suitable to describe the microbeam behaviour. Universit` di Udine. F De Bona1. Politecnico di Torino. a via delle Scienze. 10129 Torino.it. Nomenclature C F P1. 33100 Udine. 208. a new FEM method based on a sequential field-coupling (SFC) approach is proposed.cc. the voltage at which instability occurs can be evaluated and post-instability solutions can also be predicted.2.INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS PUBLISHING J. in particular. debona@uniud. 14 (2004) 365–373 JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING PII: S0960-1317(04)66284-X Large deflections of microbeams under electrostatic loads A Collenz1.andrea@vela. In fact. a scale effect is the reason why electrostatic forces.1088/0960-1317/14/3/008) Abstract Electrostatic actuated microbeams are frequently encountered in micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). piezoelectric) at the microscopic scale [2]. normally negligible at macroscopic level. The solutions are compared with those obtained by means of the best-known numerical methods available in the literature. geometrical non-linearities due to the microstructure’s large deflections can sometimes arise. The behaviour of these devices is characterized by electromechanical coupling.org/JMM/14/365 (DOI: 10.e. Introduction Electrostatic microactuators are widely used in the realization of microsystems [1]. Besides the non-linearity due to the coupling.00 © 2004 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK . in which electrostatic loads are gradually applied to the deformed shape of the structure. soma@polito. electromagnetic.uniud.o. can prevail over other kinds of actuation (i. due to the mutual interaction between the electrostatic field and the deflection of the structure. Gestionale e Meccanica.it. A Gugliotta2 and A Som` 2 a 1 Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica. A further advantage 365 0960-1317/04/030365+09$30. Microeng.it and gugliotta@polito. Italy E-mail: collenz.f. In this work. In the case of voltage values that generate large displacements. 24.it Received 18 July 2003 Published 17 December 2003 Online at stacks. type of a generic domain vertical coordinate matrix of a discretized coupled problem tangential stiffness matrix linear stiffness matrix large displacement stiffness matrix initial tangential stiffness matrix Subscripts 0 initial conditions i load step number n node number y vertical component 1. P2 Q V V∗ V e emax g i k kmax l n t u w x capacitance electrostatic load generic load vectors surface charge applied voltage pull-in or instability voltage voltage increment convergence parameter convergence tolerance gap load step number sequential field-coupling iteration number maximum sequential field-coupling iteration number beam length maximum voltage increment steps beam thickness nodal displacement beam width horizontal coordinate xi y [Kij] [KT] [K0] [KL] [Kσ ] d. Micromech.

secondly. Coupled-field analysis A coupled-field analysis is required when different physical domains. it is more compatible with microfabrication processes [3]. {x2 })} = . If a quite accurate solution can be obtained setting the coupling terms at zero. {x2 })] {x1 } {P1 } = . These assumptions are no longer valid in many problems involving microsensors and particularly . Hence. are involved [6. Analytical solutions of the coupled electromechanical problem are available only in the case of very simple geometries in small deflection conditions [4]. Further non-linearities can be related to [K11] and [K22] sub-matrices. {x2 } {P2 } (2) Some authors [10] suggest rearranging the system of equations (2) in the following form: [K11 ({x1 })] 0 0 [K22 ({x2 })] {x1 } {P1 ({x1 }. respectively. In linear structural analysis the assumption is made that strains and displacements are small. Further non-linearities arise if the submatrices [K11] and [K22] depend on {x1 } and {x2 } respectively. on the finite element method [5. in which the physical domains involved are analysed individually following a sequential scheme. Thus. Typical cases of linear coupled problems described by a system of equations such as (1) are those dealing with piezoelectricity. to develop an alternative approach based on a sequential fieldcoupling (SFC) algorithm more suitable to deal with strongly non-conservative electrostatic loads. The system of equations written in this form is particularly suitable for an iterative-type solution. which refer. In a FEM analysis this means that geometry of the elements remains basically unchanged in the loading process and that strains can be approximated by a first-order. in structural mechanics. If [K11] and [K22] are constant. If the nodal displacement vector {u} and nodal potential vector {v} are chosen. From the point of view of design methodologies. Geometrical non-linearities In the previous paragraph. electromechanical coupling is analysed with particular reference to electrostatically actuated microdevices. if {x1 } is the vector of the nodal displacement and {x2 } is the vector of the nodal temperatures. respectively. the problem is partially coupled and can be solved sequentially with a single iteration [10]. the structural stiffness matrix and the electrostatic coefficient matrix. 10]. The purpose of this work is twofold: firstly. for example. {x2 })] [K12 ({x1 }.A Collenz et al of electrostatic actuation is that. Very often cantilever microbeams are used as electrostatic actuators [3. considering only [K11] and [K22] sub-matrices. In this work. If two generic types of degrees of freedom {x1 } and {x2 } describe a coupled-field problem. 3. electrostatic forces deflect the structure thus redistributing the charge and consequently modifying the electrostatic field. the mutual dependence between electrostatic and structural problems is due to the influence of the electrical field. {P2 } (1) Sub-matrices [K12] and [K21] vanish. infinitesimal. linear form [12]. modified as it follows: [K11 ({x1 })] [K21 ({x1 }. the solution of its discretized formulation consists in solving a system of equations whose typical expression is the following: [K11 ] [K21 ] [K12 ] [K22 ] {x1 } {x2 } = {P1 } . to the presence of geometrical non-linearities and to the first Maxwell’s equation for the electrostatic field. it follows that in the linear case [K21] (equation (2)) vanishes. to evaluate how effective the methods already available to predict the mechanical behaviour of electrostatically actuated microbeams are in tackling the large deflection case. the general expression (1) of a linear coupled problem has to be 366 In the previous system of equations. In fact. whose characteristic parameters mutually influence each other. {x2 })] [K22 ({x1 }. thus increasing the computational complexity of the problem [8. A more effective approach is the numerical one based. 7]. geometrical-type non-linearities were introduced besides the non-linearities due to the electromechanical coupling. [K11] and [K22] are. {x2 })} (3) 2. This means that models able to give an effective simulation of the electromechanical coupling are required. equation (3) becomes [K11 ({u})] 0 0 [K22 ] {u} {V } = {F({u}. generally characterized by strong coupling [11]. this can be due to considerable material behaviour and/or geometry variations. in particular. as microsystems generally consist of conductors and isolators. for the structural domain and for the electrostatic one as vectors {x1 } and {x2 }. The coupling is non-linear and it is due to {F } and {Q} terms: at a fixed applied voltage. since only the nodal load vectors {P1 } and {P2 } and not the whole matrix have to be recalculated at each iteration. generally it is important to obtain an accurate prediction of the mechanical behaviour of such devices. 6]. 9]. {V })} . the latter formulation turns out to be particularly efficient. the coupling can be considered ‘weak’. {Q({u})} (4) The coupling caused by the presence of sub-matrices [K12] and [K21] (in general [K21] = [K12] T) can be considered ‘strong’ if the contribution of the ‘off diagonal’ sub-matrices cannot be neglected. {x2 } {P2 ({x1 }. Typical example of coupled-field problems that require a sequential solution is the thermo-structural case. which has to be considered non-linearly coupled. which produces a deflection of the structure that is the cause of a variation of the electrical charge distribution and consequently of the electrical field itself. respectively. but the problem is still coupled because of the dependence of {P1 } on {x2 } and of {P2 } on {x1 }. {F } is the vector of the nodal electrostatic forces and {Q} is the vector of the nodal charge. Very often sub-matrices [K12] and [K21] depend on the degrees of freedom of the problem. in this case geometrical non-linearities due to the large microbeam deflections can arise in addition to the non-linearities that characterize the electromechanical coupling.

their thickness is small in comparison with their in-plane dimensions. In fact. microbeams and microplates undergo large deflections in the presence of electromechanical load. This configuration is very common in the field of microsystems for the realization of microactuators [3. it is necessary to compute the tangential stiffness matrix [KT]. for systems characterized by many degrees of freedom it is necessary to carry out a preliminary sequence of electrostatic simulations at different values of the gap. Large deflections: proposed solutions 4. This approach is also frequently defined as the relaxation method in the literature [6] and can be formulated with different computational schemes as in [17]. In both previous approaches BEM and FEM analyses are used.n) calculated at node n is applied to 367 . The problem requires a numerical analysis using. In contrast in [5] a direct method with reduced order model has been proposed. based for example on Gauss–Seidel relaxation with homotopy parameter. In figure 1(a) the CSFC scheme is sketched: the electrostatic force (Fi. one of the most preferred configurations of MEMS devices is based on beams and plates obtained by a surface micro-fabrication process. which can be introduced in the first equation of (4). The second term [Kσ ]. A possible solution scheme. Indeed. the ‘large displacement stiffness matrix’. consists in an iterative analysis of the structural and of the electrostatic domains that is defined in the present work as SFC. This method requires a preliminary electrostatic analysis at different nodal displacements in order to perform a discrete mapping of the capacitance of the system versus the distance between the armatures subjected to the potential difference. and therefore an iterative solution with a small-step incremental approach is generally required [12]. if large displacements occur.Large deflections of microbeams under electrostatic loads microactuators. In [10] a similar approach based on a sequential scheme has been implemented. An efficient improvement of the solution scheme that takes into account both the above-mentioned problems could be the introduction of an incremental-loading loop. in which small increments of nodal displacements have to be considered. of the corrected electrostatic load increment due to the larger deflection of the beam with respect to the previous step. (5) The first term [K0] is the stiffness matrix obtained by a linear analysis of the same problem and is computed in the undeformed configuration. electromechanical coupling take place only at the interface. 7]. as follows: 1 ∂C 2 F= V . in a discretized model the equilibrium equations can be obtained following a usual energetic approach. as the electrostatic load vector is obtained by interpolation of the previously calculated values of capacitance. In fact. one electrical (voltage) and one structural (displacement). as evidenced in [16]. As pointed out previously. in which large displacements may occur. at every iteration. Solution methods for small deflections In this work. A possible approach in this sense is the application. in this case. in these cases the only source of non-linearity is due to the presence of the electromechanical coupling. takes into account the initial stress stiffening of the structure while [KL]. it is possible to obtain the expression for F. Obviously. equilibrium equations have to be written for the deformed configuration of the system and not for the original undeformed configuration.1). 4. therefore. based on the formulations described by equation (4). Independently from the formulation of the latter. with the consequent problem of their application in an iterative scheme. Even in the simple case of a cantilever beam. called ‘initial stress matrix’. which corresponds to the [K11] sub-matrix in (3) and is defined by the following expression: [KT ] = [K0 ] + [Kσ ] + [KL ]. respectively. such devices operate at low voltage and therefore microstructure deflections are limited. silicon nitride and silicon carbide. the most simple numerical approach to this problem can be the conventional sequential field-coupling (CSFC) iterative scheme (see section 4. Moreover. the finite element method. This approach does not allow the control of the load increments that have to be applied at each iteration and therefore could give convergence problems or errors in the evaluation of the deflection.1. Solutions based on the Newton–Raphson method are often used and. it is possible to achieve high flexural loads with very low flexural stiffness and hence these devices can work in the field of large deflections [13–15]. for the solution of the electrostatic and of the mechanical problem. such as silicon.2. the presence of the coupling allows an analytical solution to be obtained only at the cost of relevant simplifications. therefore allowing a direct mechanical solution. Due to this fact. while an alternative option is the incremental application of the voltage. hence at each step of the iteration only the portion of the model actually involved in the current analysis is considered. for example. further non-linear terms related to plasticity do not have to be introduced in the constitutive relations. In the case of a single degree of freedom model. Electrostatically actuated microbeams 4. (6) 2 ∂g If the relationship between the capacitance C of the device and the gap g is known. Afterwards the structural analysis can be performed directly in a single step. with the difference that both the mechanical and electrical problems are solved by means of FEM analyses. interactions that characterize In some applications. The result is a non-linear system of equations. Very often. represents the contribution of the geometry variation of the structures subjected to large deflection. as proposed in this work. The usual approach to deal with a large displacement problem is that of taking into account the second-order terms in the strain-displacement relationship. As microsystems are generally made of highly elastic materials. the electrostatic load can be conveniently expressed as a function of the capacitance. electrostatic loads are non-conservative. which makes use of a new FEM element type characterized by two degrees of freedom per node. the electromechanical coupling that characterizes a cantilever beam subjected to the effect of electrostatic loads has been investigated. This procedure is generally implemented in commercial FEM codes.

Figure 2.4 µm has been considered. this is worthwhile because of the increased accuracy of the solution in the most crucial part of the model. where distortions of the mesh are a major problem. The material of the beam is polycrystalline silicon. which are the differences between force Fi.n and the force calculated at the previous iteration (Fi−1. For comparison with the approach proposed in this work. FEM models In this work a cantilever microbeam with length l = 100 µm and thickness t = 0. based on the SFC scheme and modified with load corrections or voltage increments. except in the region far from the beam. the optimal series of increments must be found to control the error. Sequential field coupling with voltage increments. which is necessary . As discussed in [20]. the undeformed configuration of the beam in the following mechanical analysis at iteration i. infinite electrostatic elements are not compatible with the geometrical non-linearity option used in the FEM code. At each iteration.A Collenz et al Figure 1.n). Isoparametric eight-node electrostatic elements were used to discretize the dielectric. have been implemented for the microbeam case described above. The study of the mechanical behaviour of this microstructure under electrostatic loads has been performed according to different methods available in the literature (iterative coupling [10]. BEM–FEM relaxation [7]) for comparison with the new algorithms developed in this work. The model used for this analysis is similar to the one described above but some modifications were required. where special 2D infinite solid isoparametric elements were used to simulate the decay of the potential as the distance from the structure increases. where the potential difference increments are not optimized as could be done following a predictor corrector scheme. This geometry. characterized by extremely large g/l and l/t ratios in comparison with the usual cases [7. It is important to note that this load correction is applied to the deflected configuration obtained at the previous step. Since structural and electrical properties are assigned to the morphing mesh area. The region that surrounds the tip of the beam is characterized by very high electrostatic charge concentration (figure 4(b)) and hence it requires a regular mapped meshing approach. a non-linear mechanical solution is carried out following a Newton–Raphson scheme and the usual iterative approach is required to tackle the electromechanical coupling. a two-dimensional FEM model has been considered. 4. In general. The proposed algorithms. The geometry of the beam is kept constant in this work. The gap g between the lower surface of the microbeam and an underlying infinite plane is 100 µm and a potential difference V between the 368 microbeam and the plane is imposed. Sequential field coupling: conventional (a) and with load correction (b). The procedure has been implemented using the APDL language of the commercial FEM code AnsysTM (release 6. Nevertheless. 17. has been chosen with the purpose of achieving even very large deflections of the microstructure. fake structural elements have been introduced in the area that surrounds the mechanical structure. The total potential difference can be split into n increments and the static equilibrium at each intermediate voltage value Vi is achieved with an iterative inner loop before a voltage increment is applied at the following step. In the second approach proposed in this work the total potential difference V is gradually applied. In fact. The beam is assumed to be placed in vacuum. particularly in the case of large deflections of the microbeam.36. as illustrated in figure 2. The CSFC scheme is improved by introducing two internal cycles to be used when high potentials are applied and therefore geometrical non-linearities must be taken into account.3. for the voltage increments case. it follows that these elements undergo both a mechanical and an electrical solution. 19]. Figure 3 shows the flowchart of the algorithm. direct method with reduced order model [5]. In figure 1(b) the SFC with load correction is represented: it is based on the use of increments of electrostatic load. In [21] a ‘morphing mesh’ technique (figure 4(a)) was proposed to overcome this problem and to realize a more effective mesh of the finite element model. where isoparametric eight-node quadrilateral elements have been used for the mesh of the beam. even if in [18] a nonuniform thickness distribution is suggested to optimize the electromechanical behaviour of the beam. the internal CSFC method of the FEM code Ansys (implemented by the command ESSOLV) has been considered. This last feature is not a goal of the present work. whose task is to limit element distortions and adjust node locations within the electrostatic domain during the mechanical solution. but in the same region excessive element distortions are likely to occur. with Young modulus E = 166 GPa and Poisson’s ratio ν = 0.1). Therefore. Obviously smaller voltage increments are required when higher deflection rates occur.

Finally. since a different kind of morphing approach is already implemented in the code. in the first row. therefore voltages up to very high values were considered. necessary to determine the relation between capacitance and gap. For this purpose. Finally. This approach has been implemented by means of a special electro-mechanical transducer element in the FEM code Ansys. In particular. in the structural analysis when high voltages are applied. based on a reduced order model of the coupling effect. further analyses have been carried out according to the relaxation method proposed by [7. this procedure cannot handle a very large number of nodes for a wide dielectric area and this imposes the choice of triangular option for the isoparametric electrical elements used to discretize the dielectric. A microbeam width of 70 µm has been chosen. so that edge effects have also been taken into account. The direct method proposed in [5]. Sequential field coupling algorithm with voltage increments. based on a FEM–BEM iterative solution. 19]. Table 1 shows the vertical displacement of the beam tip obtained with the previously described numerical methods. in order to minimize edge effects of the electrostatic field. For this purpose a model of the microbeam was obtained using the commercial code Coventorware (release 2001) [22]. the conventional SFC (implemented also in this work) is reported. 5. In this case a 3D model constituted by parabolic brick elements had to be used. the peculiarity is that a suitable number of electromechanical elements were set in parallel between the mechanical structure and the underlying plane to simulate the electrostatic loads. Preliminary analyses.Large deflections of microbeams under electrostatic loads Figure 3. have been carried out considering a transversal section of the beam at different distances from the underlying plane. the morphing mesh was not used as previously described for the region of dielectric that surrounds the tip of the beam. has been considered. thus permitting a more consistent comparison with the other 2D models. a different microbeam model has been developed. Moreover. because of the limited meshing options of the software in terms of element choice. In the case of high voltages non-linear mechanical analysis was performed. the second and the third rows report the new methods proposed here. Results and discussion The main purpose of this work is the study of large deflections in microstructures. while the solutions 369 .

681 5. as the maximum vertical deflection is about 30% of the beam length. with a difference in the vertical tip displacement of −40% (table 1).317 5. By using the closed form expression suggested by [23] for the pull-in evaluation.82).464 0. 19].844 14.8% is obtained from the SFC method proposed in [10].220 0. a value of V ∗ = 1829 V was obtained as the instability threshold.321 0.285 800 V 5.887 1.824 45. while result of conventional SFC Table 1. Vertical tip displacements (µm) at increasing potentials: comparison between different approaches.5%. at V = 400 V (V/V∗ = 0. In the presence of high voltage values an instability condition occurs. moreover the expression proposed in [23] is based on a small deflection hypothesis and hence it has to be considered only as a first approximation value. At low potential differences (V /V ∗ 1) a vertical displacement of the beam tip smaller than 2% of the length l of the beam is obtained.662 24.270 13.367 17. 200 V CSFC SFC with load correction (this work) SFC with voltage increments (this work) SFC [10] Direct method with reduced order model [5] BEM—FEM SFC [22] 0.321 400 V 1. A difference of +3.A Collenz et al Figure 5. which has some common characteristics with the pull-in situation that can occur for smaller gaps [7.22) the vertical displacement of the tip obtained with the voltage increment method is 1. In the following discussion. In this case deflections are relevant. Sketch of the meshing technique (a) and example of simulation result (b). 17.291 1.096 3. while the direct method that makes use of the electro-mechanical transducer element underestimates the tip displacement of more than 30%.157 8. Figure 4.400 5. For example.702 14. in this case all the methods provide similar solutions.852 1500 V 21.572 1200 V 12. Microbeam deflected shape (V /V ∗ = 0.636 370 . In figure 5 the microbeam deformed shapes for V /V ∗ = 0.347 29.321 0.495 1700 V 80.82 (V = 1500 V) are shown.292 1.198 16.877 79.303 µm and the maximum difference among the solutions obtained by sequential methods is lower than 12.303 1. the comparison among the different solution methods will therefore be done in terms of percentage difference of the tip vertical displacement with respect to values obtained with the SFC with voltage increment method. which will be taken as reference.360 0. the deflection obtained with the direct method with reduced order model is much smaller.44 29. therefore the beam tip cannot touch the underlying plane. At present neither numerical nor experimental results are available in the literature for cases similar to that considered in this work. with the three methods taken for comparison are presented in the last three rows. Obviously in this case real pull-in cannot occur because the gap is as big as the beam length (l/g = 1).129 32. except the direct method with reduced order model. With respect to the SFC with voltage increment method.540 6.321 0.

The CSFC method gives good results for low potentials. the conventional SFC and BEM–FEM relaxation method do not converge. Both SFC with load corrections and SFC with potential increment methods can achieve convergence (although at the cost of high computational time) suggesting a more realistic beam shape. With the relaxation method by means of BEM–FEM iterative analysis [7. whose effectiveness is strongly reduced in the case of a deformable continuous model. it is in good agreement with the SFC method with voltage increments. Figure 6 shows the solutions in the case V /V ∗ = 0.4%). the one-dimensional formulation of the element does not consider the horizontal force components that arise as the structure deflects. secondly. table 1 shows that. 371 . the computed electrostatic loads are applied to the undeflected configuration. convergence is not achieved for voltage values higher than about 1200 V. SFC with load corrections and SFC with voltage increments provide very similar results in this loading condition. the simplified formulation of the electro-mechanical transducer element used does not take into account correctly the concentration of electrostatic forces at the tip of the beam. when the deflections become large. In the case of SFC method according to [10] a further source of error is related to the model simplifications (described in section 4. such error grows for increasing deflections in the further electromechanical iterations.3) imposed by the algorithm. In the following mechanical analysis. giving a quite unrealistic deflected shape.93). Microbeam deflected shape (V /V ∗ = 0. therefore it allows only a lumped model of the electromechanical system.93.Large deflections of microbeams under electrostatic loads Figure 6. It has been shown that the proposed methods based on SFC with load correction and with voltage increments permit convergence to be always achieved with results that are in good agreement also at high voltage. the nonconservative characteristics of the electrostatic loading are extended. In this particular case the method underestimates the deflection of the beam and this can be justified considering two different effects. Nevertheless. while at higher voltages an increasing error is introduced because. In fact. the common feature of these two methods is that nodal forces are applied to Figure 7. When higher voltage bias is applied (V /V ∗ ≈ 1) to the microstructure. the direct method with reduced order model and conventional SFC according to [10] strongly underestimate the deflection of the microbeam. Vertical displacement of the microbeam tip versus applied voltage obtained with voltage increment SFC method. Firstly. In fact. (implemented also in this work) consists of a much lower tip displacement (−26. 19]. As pointed out previously. the direct method with reduced order model is characterized by one mechanical and one electrical degree of freedom. as long as a solution is achieved. while the other methods provide solutions spread over a wide range. consequently the initial condition of the Newton–Raphson non-linear mechanical analysis is affected by a nodal force direction error. however in the first case a sign-inversion of the beam-axis slope is observed. each electrostatic analysis provides nodal forces that are orthogonal to the deflected beam axis. Obviously.

MEMS vol 1 pp 143–50 [9] Wachutka G 2003 Introduction to MEMS modeling and simulation AISEM MEMS Tutorial (ITC-irst Povo. Nieri M. Ananthasuresh G K and Senturia S D 1996 3D modeling of contact problems and hysteresis in coupled electro-mechanics Proc. on Robotic and Automation (San Diego) pp 2659–64 [12] Zienckiewicz O C 1989 The Finite Element Method vol 2 4th edn (New York: McGraw-Hill) [13] Pizzi M. which corresponds to uy/g ≈ 0. 1999 ANSYS 5. De Bona F. MSM Conf. Iachetti C and Sassoli K 2001 Electrostatically driven microstructures using nanostructured inks Proc. 2nd Euspen Int. Gugliotta A and Mola E 2001 Meshing a approach in non-linear fem analysis of microstructures under electrostatic loads Proc. Italy) pp 216–9 [14] Conseil F. References [1] Madou M 2002 Fundamentals of Microfabrication 2nd edn (Boca Raton. on Comp. Conf. and in particular to evaluate instability voltage and compute post-instability. In the configuration analysed in this work a real pull-in cannot occur. since the possibility of imposing suitably small increments helps in the iteration procedure.93. but characterized by lower values of gap. It can be concluded that the methods proposed in this work permit one to deal with the large displacement case. The voltage corresponding to this instability condition is called ‘pull-in voltage’ because equilibrium between the elastic and the electrostatic forces is not possible and therefore the beam is pulled until it collapses against the underlying plate. Figure 7 clearly shows that the instability condition occurs at V /V ∗ ≈ 0. For this purpose. Reddy C K. Senturia S and White J 1993 A relaxation/multipole accelerated scheme for self-consistent electromechanical analysis of complex 3-D microelectromechanical structures Proc. Faris W F and Gurdal Z 2003 Optimal shape design of an electrostatically actuated micro-beam including geometric non-linearity against pull-in instability Short Papers of the 5th World Congress of Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization (Lido di Jesolo. Brusa E. FL: Chemical Rubber Company Press) [2] Hsu T R 2001 MEMS & Microsystems Design and Manufacture (New York: McGraw-Hill) [3] Fukuda T and Menz W 1998 Micro Mechanical Systems: Principles & Technology (Amsterdam: Elsevier) [4] Choi B and Lovell E G 1997 Improved analysis of microbeams under mechanical and electrostatic loads J. Collard D and Buchaillot L 2003 Study and realisation of a micromechanical relay for use in a harsh environment Proc. 25] accurate results of microbeam deflections in the case of very low g/l are obtained but only analytically and by means of numerical simulations. It is well known that in similar electromechanical configurations. but instability still occurs at similar uy/g ratios. in which electrostatic loads are gradually applied at each iteration to the deformed shape of the structure. obtained with the SFC with voltage increment method (in the case of the SFC with load corrections a similar curve was obtained). deflections at pull-in are small. Di Mauro S. USA) [18] Abdalla M M. i. De Bona F and a Roccaforte F 2000 Non-linear analysis of beams under electrostatic loads Proc. Genta G and Tonoli A 1994 Finite element modeling and experimental validation of an elastic beam with surface bonded piezoelectric devices Proc. 7 24–9 [5] Gyimesi M and Ostergaard D 1999 Electro-mechanical transducers for Mems analysis in Ansys Proc. on Design Test Integration Packaging MEMs/MOEMs 2003 (Cannes. MSM ’99 (Puerto Rico. Microelectromech. Jerman H and Kenny T W 2003 Design of large deflection electrostatic actuators J. A possible justification is suggested observing the beam tip vertical displacement versus applied voltage shown in figure 7. in post-instability conditions the beam axis at the tip is more or less orthogonal to the underlying plate and this means that slight numerical perturbations can strongly affect the horizontal displacement values. Aided Design (Santa Clara.com [11] Bona B. Conf. Workshop on Microelectromechanical Systems (San Diego) pp 127–32 [20] Gugliotta A. Gilbert J. Integration and 6. Dodson S. Italy) pp 335–6 [19] Gilbert J R. which is still possible. Ravat M F.6 User Manual www. Perlo P. 1 57–64 [17] Konig E R and Wachutka G 1999 Analysis of unstable behavior occurring in electro-mechanical microdevices Proc. In comparison with the usual approaches available in the literature. the voltage at which instability occurs can also be evaluated and post-instability solutions can be predicted. Mod. Osterberg P. in the case of large displacements. Sinesi S. Som` A. a new method based on an SFC approach is proposed. Symp. Microsyst. which are increased when geometrical non-linearities due to large microstructure deflections also have to be considered. Conf. IEEE Int. simulation.A Collenz et al the deformed structure. From this point of view.3. A slight but significant difference in the beam shape has been observed at V /V ∗ = 0. Sim. This method has been therefore considered as a reference for the comparison carried out in the present work. Derderian P. (Turin. probably the SFC method with voltage increments allows a more stable solution to be obtained. On the other hand. as the beam tip can never reach the ground.ansys. 12 335–43 [16] Sarraute E and Dufour I 1999 Analytical modeling of beam behavior under different actuations J. France) pp 108–12 [15] Grade J D. the solution of an electromechanical coupled problem introduces remarkable computational complexities. Microeng. CA) pp 283–6 [7] Senturia S D 2001 Microsystem Design (Boston: Kluwer) [8] Rensing N M. Yie H. It can be therefore observed that the deformed shapes depicted in figure 6 correspond to a postinstability equilibrium condition. therefore. Adams G G. Symp. Trento) [10] ANSYS Inc. on Design Test Integration Packaging of MEMs/MOEMs (Paris) pp 90–8 [21] Som` A. The expression suggested in [23] is still able to give a good first approximation value of the instability voltage (an error of 13% is obtained in this case). and testing of the nonlinear oscillations of a MEMS torsional mirror with mechanical-electrostatic coupling Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems ASME International Congress and Exposition. The closed form expression for V /V ∗ proposed by [23] gives very accurate results if g/l is small. Conclusions As pointed out. Test. 372 . in particular. Micromech. Canestrelli P. the proposed method is more effective to describe the microbeam behaviour. Syst. A final validation of the algorithm proposed in this work requires. Int. pull-in instability occurs at values of the vertical displacement uy of about 30% of the gap. in [24. Recently. 9th Int.e. experimental analysis of the mechanical behaviour of microbeams undergoing large deflections. McClelland R W and Lemoncelli A 1999 Modeling. Zavracky P M. (Puerto Rico) pp 270–3 [6] Cai X. Design.88. Koniachkine V.

USA http://www.Large deflections of microbeams under electrostatic loads Packaging of MEMS/MOEMS (Cannes. 12 458–64 [25] Cheng J. SPIE vol 4408 pp 216–25 [22] Coventor Inc.coventor. Microeng. Puers R. Baert K and Tilmans H A C 2002 Pull-in voltage analysis of electrostatically actuated beam structures with fixed–fixed and fixed–free end conditions J. 14 57–68 373 . Microeng. 2001 Coventorware 2001.1 User’s Manual. Micromech. Cary.com [23] Gupta R 1997 Electrostatic pull-in test structure design for in-situ mechanical property measurements of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) PhD Thesis Massachussets Institute of Technology [24] Pamidighantam S. NC. France) Proc. Zhe J and Wu X 2004 Analytical and finite element model pull-in study of rigid and deformable electrostatic microactuators J. Micromech.