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Nonlinearity in Micromechanical Resonators

In this tutorial, we cover the effect of nonlinear spring forces on (micro)resonators. The motivation

of analysis is: i. to understand the nonlinear effects observed with real resonators and ii. to estimate the

maximum vibration amplitude where vibrations are almost linear. Knowing the range for linear vibrations

sets the dynamic range for resonators. On the lower end, the usable range is limited by intrinsic noise in

the MEMS system. The upper end is limited by the resonator power handling capacity which, as we’ll see

shortly, is limited by nonlinear effects. The analysis in this tutorial follows closely to Landau [2] but the

presentation has been slightly modernized.

Preliminaries

Before going into the analysis of nonlinear resonators, it is useful to review the familiar harmonic resonator

shown in Figure 1. The equation of motion for a mass-spring-dash pot is

m

∂

2

x

∂t

2

+γ

∂x

∂t

+kx = F

ω

cosωt, (1)

where x is the motion of the mass m, γ is the damping coefﬁcient, k is the spring constant, and F

ω

is the

magnitude of the forcing term at frequency ω. It is helpful to deﬁne the resonant frequency ω

0

=

_

k/m and

the quality factor Q = ω

0

m/γ. Solving Equation (1) for the amplitude of vibrations gives

|X| =

F

ω

/m

_

(ω

2

−ω

2

0

)

2

+(ωω

0

/Q)

2

. (2)

Figure 1 sketches the resonator frequency response given by Equation (2). As the focus of this tutorial is on

resonators, we’ll concentrate on the response near the resonance frequency.

m

k

γ

k

F

X

ω

=

k

QF

X

ω

=

low frequency

response

resonance

response

F

ω

ω

ω

0

X

Figure 1. Harmonic resonator and its frequency response.

Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.net)

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1

Nonlinear spring forces

In general, the nonlinear spring force can be written as

F =−kx −k

1

x

2

−k

2

x

3

+O(x

4

), (3)

where k is the normal linear spring constant, k

1

and k

2

are the ﬁrst and second order corrections, respectively,

and x is the spring displacement. With the nonlinear spring constant, the equation of motion for the mass-

spring-dash pot resonator becomes

m

∂

2

x

∂t

2

+γ

∂x

∂t

+kx +k

1

x

2

+k

2

x

3

= F

ω

cosωt. (4)

Equation (4) is solved in two parts: First, in the next section, the unforced and undamped vibrations are

analyzed. Next, the obtained solution is used to approximate forced vibrations.

Unforced vibrations

Setting γ = 0 and F

ω

= 0 in Equation 4, we obtain

m

∂

2

x

∂t

2

+kx +k

1

x

2

+k

2

x

3

= 0. (5)

From physics, we expect the unforced, undamped harmonic oscillator to oscillate inﬁnitely with constant

amplitude at the resonance frequency ω

0

. The nonlinear terms will change the oscillation frequency to ω

0

.

Moreover, the oscillation frequency ω

0

will depend on oscillation amplitude due to k

1

x

2

and k

2

x

3

terms in

Equation (5). To obtain this relationship we carry out perturbation analysis around the linear oscillation

frequency ω

0

. After all we are interested in almost linear systems! Dividing by m and making the change of

variables in Equation (5) as

k

1

= εαm

k

2

= ε

2

βm

ω

0

t = τ

(6)

gives

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x +εαx

2

+ε

2

βx

3

= 0. (7)

Notice that in Equation (6) the ﬁrst-order correction to spring constant k

1

is proportional to ε while the second-

order correction k

2

is proportional to ε

2

. This approach provides a convenient way to group the perturbation

terms by their order. Next, we substitute ω

0

= ω

0

+εω

1

+ε

2

ω

2

and x = x

0

+εx

1

+ε

2

x

2

to Equation (7) and

group the terms in powers of ε:

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

0

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x

0

+ε

_

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

1

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x

1

+αx

2

0

+2ω

0

ω

1

∂

2

x

0

∂τ

2

_

+ε

2

_

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

2

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x

2

+2αx

0

x

1

+βx

3

0

+(ω

2

1

+2ω

0

ω

2

)

∂

2

x

0

∂τ

2

+2ω

0

ω

2

∂

2

x

1

∂τ

2

_

+O(ε

3

) = 0.

(8)

For Equation (8) to be satisﬁed for ε = 0, the following Equations must be satisﬁed:

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

0

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x

0

= 0, (9)

Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.net)

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2

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

1

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x

1

+αx

2

0

+2ω

0

ω

1

∂

2

x

0

∂τ

2

= 0, (10)

and

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

2

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x

2

+2αx

0

x

1

+βx

3

0

+(ω

2

1

+2ω

0

ω

2

)

∂

2

x

0

∂τ

2

+2ω

0

ω

2

∂

2

x

1

∂τ

2

= 0. (11)

Equation (9) is just the harmonic resonator and has the solution

x

0

= X

0

cosτ. (12)

Substituting Equation (12) to (10) gives

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

1

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x

1

=−

1

2

αX

2

0

(1+cos2τ) +2ω

0

ω

1

X

0

cosτ. (13)

The resonant term

1

2ω

0

ω

1

X

0

cosτ on the right side of Equation (13) would result in x

1

growing inﬁnitely.

This is physically not possible as no energy is pumped into the resonator system. Thus, we require the

resonant term to be zero leading to ω

1

= 0. Solving Equation (13) then leads to

x

1

=−

3α

6ω

2

0

X

2

0

+

α

6ω

2

0

X

2

0

cos2τ. (14)

We thus have two additional frequency components due to the ﬁrst-order corrections: a dc-term and a higher

harmonic at twice the oscillation frequency. Substituting Equations (12) and (14) to (11) gives

ω

2

0

∂

2

x

2

∂τ

2

+ω

2

0

x

2

=−

_

−

5α

2

6ω

2

0

X

3

0

+

3β

4

X

3

0

−2ω

0

ω

2

X

0

_

cosτ −

_

α

2

6ω

2

0

X

3

0

+

β

4

X

3

0

_

cos3τ (15)

We again require that the resonant term is zero giving

ω

2

=

_

−

5α

2

12ω

3

0

+

3β

8ω

0

_

X

2

0

. (16)

Solving Equation (15) then leads to

x

2

=

_

α

2

24ω

4

0

+

β

16ω

2

0

_

X

3

0

cosτ +

_

α

2

48ω

4

0

+

β

32ω

2

0

_

X

3

0

cos3τ. (17)

Due to the second-order correction, we again have two additional components to motion: an additional term

at oscillation frequency and a term at three times the oscillation frequency. The additional term at oscillation

frequency is a ﬁnger print of odd-order nonlinearity that is very detrimental in communication systems as it

causes aliasing of noise and interference to signal band.

To summarize this section, the nonlinear spring constant change the resonance frequency of the resonator

as

ω

0

= ω

0

+ε

2

ω

2

= ω

0

+κX

2

0

, (18)

where

κ =

3k

2

8k

ω

0

−

5k

2

1

12k

2

ω

0

. (19)

Equation (18) will be used in the next section to analyze forced vibrations of damped resonator.

1

The resonant excitation terms are sometimes referred to as the secular terms.

Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.net)

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3

Nonlinear forced vibrations

As we saw in the previous section, the main effect nonlinear springs were to change the resonant frequency

of the resonator. Therefore, to analyze forced vibrations, make use of Equation (18) substitute ω

0

→ω

0

to

Equation (1). The time harmonic vibration amplitude near the resonance is then given by

X

0

=

F

ω

/m

_

(ω

2

−ω

2

0

)

2

+(ωω

0

/Q)

2

, (20)

where ω

0

= ω

0

+κX

2

0

from the previous section. Equations (18), (19) and (20) show that due to a positive

or negative k

1

, the peak-frequency given by ω = ω

0

shifts to a lower frequency with an increasing vibration

amplitude X

0

as illustrated in Figure 2. Similarly, a negative k

2

results in the peak-frequency shifting to a

lower frequency while a positive k

2

results in a higher peak-frequency.

-80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 80

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

1.2

Frequency offset [ω – ω

0

]

V

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p

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d

e

-80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 80

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

1.2

Frequency offset [ω - ω

0

]

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i

b

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a

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a

m

p

l

i

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u

d

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'

0

ω

'

0

ω

0

1

> k

0

2

< k

0

2

> k

-80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 80

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

1.2

Frequency offset [ω – ω

0

]

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p

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d

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-80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 80

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

1.2

Frequency offset [ω - ω

0

]

V

i

b

r

a

t

i

o

n

a

m

p

l

i

t

u

d

e

'

0

ω

'

0

ω

0

1

> k

0

2

< k

0

2

> k

Figure 2. Simulated (dotted lines) and analytical (solid lines) resonator amplitude-frequency response

curves around the resonance frequency. Depending on the spring constant, the peak-frequency can shift to

either higher or lower frequency. At large vibration amplitudes the response shows hysteresis.

A useful measure of the maximum vibration amplitude is obtained by calculating the bifurcation point

x

b

shown in Figure 3. At higher excitation levels, the amplitude-frequency relationship is no longer a single

valued function and shows hysteresis. Thus, the maximum vibration amplitude before hysteresis x

c

can be

used to estimate the limit for linear operation.

To obtain an analytical estimate for the bifurcation we write ∆ω = ω−ω

0

and make use of the approx-

imations (ω

0

+∆ω)

2

−ω

2

0

= (ω

0

+∆ω+ω

0

)(ω

0

+∆ω−ω

0

) ≈ 2ω

0

(∆ω−κX

2

0

) and (ω

0

+∆ω)ω

0

≈ ω

2

0

to

write Equation (20) as

X

2

0

=

F

2

/m

2

4ω

2

0

_

(∆ω

0

−κX

2

0

)

2

+ω

2

0

/4Q

2

¸ (21)

or

X

2

0

4ω

2

0

_

((∆ω

0

−κX

2

0

)

2

+ω

2

0

/4Q

2

¸

= F

2

/m

2

. (22)

As Figure 3 indicates, at bifurcation point the slope ∂X

0

/∂∆ω = ∞. Deriving Equation (22), solving for

∂X

0

/∂∆ω, and requiring that denumerator is zero (to give ∂X

0

/∂∆ω = ∞) leads to

X

2

0

=

4Q

2

∆ωκ±

_

4Q

4

∆ω

2

κ

2

−3Q

2

κ

2

ω

2

0

6Q

2

κ

2

. (23)

Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.net)

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4

µ

m

µ

m

x

ω ω

0

x

b

x

c

x

ω

x

b

x

c

x

ω ω

0

0

ω

Figure 3. At bifurcation point, the slope of the amplitude-frequency curve becomes inﬁnite. After bifurcation,

the amplitude-frequency curve has unstable region (dotted line) resulting in frequency hysteresis. Notice also

that after bifurcation, the amplitude-frequency curve is no longer single valued function.

For Equation (23) to be the bifurcation point, it has to be single valued. Requiring that 4Q

4

∆ω

2

κ

2

−

3Q

2

κ

2

ω

2

0

= 0 gives

∆ω =±

√

3ω

0

2Q

(24)

at bifurcation, where the positive and negative sign are for the positive and negative κ, respectively. Substi-

tuting back to (20) gives

x

b

=

¸

ω

0

√

3Q|κ|

(25)

for the bifurcation point.

As indicated in Figure 3, the critical vibration amplitude (or the greatest vibration amplitude) is slightly

higher than the vibration amplitude at the bifurcation point. It is obtained by substituting Equations (24)

and (25) to Equation (20) and solving for the force. The amplitude of vibrations at resonance due to this force

is

x

c

=

¸

4ω

0

3

√

3Q|κ|

. (26)

As Equation (26) shows, increasing the quality factor lowers the critical vibration amplitude x

c

as the res-

onator is made more susceptible to nonlinearities.

Implications

As we have seen, the maximum linear vibration amplitude is limited by nonlinearity and the nonlinear effects

therefore set the upper limit to the resonator dynamic range (the lower limit being set by noise). The energy

stored in the resonator at the critical vibration amplitude x

c

is

E

c

=

1

2

k

0

x

2

c

(27)

and the drive level deﬁned as power dissipated in the resonator is

P

c

=

ω

0

E

c

Q

. (28)

Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.net)

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5

Equation (28) also gives the maximum output power that can be obtained from the resonator

2

Clamped-clamped beam example

To demonstrate the results of this tutorial, we’ll consider the clamped-clamped beam resonator shown in Fig-

ure 4. As is typical in MEMS, the spring forces have both mechanical and electrical origin. We therefore

write the spring constant as k = k

m

+k

e

, k

1

= k

m1

+k

e1

, and k

1

= k

m2

+k

e2

where m and e refer to mechanical

and electrical origin. The mechanical spring constant is obtained from the large deformation analysis. Typ-

ically, ﬁnite element simulations are used but for tutorial purposes, we use the ﬁrst-order approximation for

the spring constant given by

k

m1

= 0

k

m2

=

k

m

√

2w

2

(29)

As Equation (29) indicates, the restoring force increases with displacement. This is analogous to a string

anchored from both ends: increasing the spring tension increases the restoring force. Similarly, as the beam

is displaced, it goes into tension giving rise to additional restoring force.

x

L

0

( )

2

0 / 2 1 L x L L + ≈

( ) ( )

2

0 / 2 1 L x L + ≈

0 L

L

Ywh F

∂

=

ϕ

x

L

0

/2

in out

U

dc

U

dc

25 B[µm]

Electrode

length

0.4 d[µm]

Electrode

gap

10 h[µm] Height

10 000 Q

Quality

factor

5 w[µm] Width

100 L[µm] Length

Figure 4. Clamped-clamped beam example.

The electrical nonlinearity arises from the inverse relationship between displacement and parallel plate

capacitance. The spring constants are obtained as Taylor series expansion of the electrostatic force giving

F =

U

2

dc

2

∂C

∂x

=

U

2

dc

C

0

2d

_

1+

2

d

x +

3

d

2

x

2

+

4

d

3

x

3

+O(x

4

)

_

, (30)

where C

0

is the initial gap capacitance. The ﬁrst termis the dc-force termand the spring constant is recognized

from the higher order terms as

k

e

=−

U

2

dc

C

0

d

2

k

e1

=

3

2d

k

e

k

e2

=

2

d

2

k

e

(31)

Notice that the linear electrostatic spring is negative thus lowering the resonator resonanace frequency.

Figure 5 shows the analytical and simulated responses at different bias voltages. At low voltages, the

mechanical spring constant dominates and the resonant peak shifts to a higher frequency. At higher bias

voltages, the capacitive nonlinearity dominates, and the peak frequency tilts towards lower frequencies

3

. Also

notice that the resonance frequency too changes to a lower frequency with increasing bias voltage. A keen

2

Remember: for the optimal power matching, the source and load resistances are equal and same power is dissipated in the source

and load.

3

To ﬁrst order, we can even compensate the mechanical nonlinearity with capacitive nonlinearity!

Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.net)

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6

eye may notice that that in case of capacitive nonlinearity, there is small deviation between the simulated

and theoretical curves. This is due to fact that we have kept terms only to third-order in Equation (30).

Keeping terms to O(x

5

) would accurately reproduce the capacitive nonlinearity to hysteresis limit

4

. However,

Equations (25) and (26) still give a reasonably good order-of-magnitude estimation of the maximum vibration

amplitude.

4.334 4.335 4.336 4.337

0.01

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0.03

0.04

0.05

0.06

0.07

0.08

0.09

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[

n

m

]

4.33 4.331 4.332 4.333

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.04

0.05

0.06

0.07

0.08

0.09

Frequency [MHz]

V

i

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a

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p

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[

n

m

]

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0.01

0.02

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0.05

0.06

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0.08

0.09

Frequency [MHz]

V

i

b

r

a

t

i

o

n

a

m

p

l

i

t

u

d

e

[

n

m

]

U

dc

= 1 V U

dc

= 10 V U

dc

= 15 V

Figure 5. Simulated (dotted lines) and analytical (solid lines) responses for the beam example.

References

[1] V. Kaajakari, T. Mattila, A. Oja, and H. Sepp¨ a, Nonlinear limits for single-crystal silicon microres-

onators, IEEE J. of Microelectromechanical Systems 13 (2004) 715-724.

[2] L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, Mechanics, 3rd ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1999.

4

This is left as an exercise to the reader.

Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.net)

Homepage: http://www.kaajakari.net

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7

k1 and k2 are the ﬁrst and second order corrections. (7) 0 ∂τ2 Notice that in Equation (6) the ﬁrst-order correction to spring constant k1 is proportional to ε while the secondorder correction k2 is proportional to ε2 . the obtained solution is used to approximate forced vibrations.Nonlinear spring forces In general. Unforced vibrations Setting γ = 0 and Fω = 0 in Equation 4. we expect the unforced. ∂t 2 (5) From physics. the following Equations must be satisﬁed: ω2 0 ∂2 x0 + ω2 x0 = 0.net Tutorials: http://www. With the nonlinear spring constant. we obtain m ∂2 x + kx + k1 x2 + k2 x3 = 0. To obtain this relationship we carry out perturbation analysis around the linear oscillation frequency ω0 . Next.kaajakari. (3) where k is the normal linear spring constant. Next. Moreover.kaajakari. in the next section. and x is the spring displacement. respectively. The nonlinear terms will change the oscillation frequency to ω0 .net) Homepage: http://www.net/~ville/research/tutorials/tutorials. the nonlinear spring force can be written as F = −kx − k1 x2 − k2 x3 + O(x4 ). we substitute ω0 = ω0 + εω1 + ε2 ω2 and x = x0 + εx1 + ε2 x2 to Equation (7) and group the terms in powers of ε: ω02 ω2 ∂∂τx20 + ω2 x0 0 0 2 2 2 2 +ε ω2 ∂∂τx21 + ω2 x1 + αx0 + 2ω0 ω1 ∂∂τx20 0 0 3 +ε2 ω2 ∂∂τx22 + ω2 x2 + 2αx0 x1 + βx0 + (ω2 + 2ω0 ω2 ) ∂∂τx20 + 2ω0 ω2 ∂∂τx21 0 0 1 2 2 2 (8) +O(ε3 ) = 0.shtml 2 . the unforced and undamped vibrations are analyzed. After all we are interested in almost linear systems! Dividing by m and making the change of variables in Equation (5) as k1 = εαm k2 = ε2 βm (6) ω0t = τ gives ∂2 x + ω2 x + εαx2 + ε2 βx3 = 0. For Equation (8) to be satisﬁed for ε = 0. This approach provides a convenient way to group the perturbation terms by their order. the oscillation frequency ω0 will depend on oscillation amplitude due to k1 x2 and k2 x3 terms in Equation (5). the equation of motion for the massspring-dash pot resonator becomes m ∂x ∂2 x + γ + kx + k1 x2 + k2 x3 = Fω cos ωt. undamped harmonic oscillator to oscillate inﬁnitely with constant amplitude at the resonance frequency ω0 . 2 ∂t ∂t (4) Equation (4) is solved in two parts: First. 0 ∂τ2 (9) Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.

3 12ω0 8ω0 0 (16) Due to the second-order correction.kaajakari. 6ω2 0 6ω2 0 0 0 (14) We thus have two additional frequency components due to the ﬁrst-order corrections: a dc-term and a higher harmonic at twice the oscillation frequency. the nonlinear spring constant change the resonance frequency of the resonator as 2 (18) ω0 = ω0 + ε2 ω2 = ω0 + κX0 . The additional term at oscillation frequency is a ﬁnger print of odd-order nonlinearity that is very detrimental in communication systems as it causes aliasing of noise and interference to signal band. To summarize this section.ω2 0 and ω2 0 ∂2 x1 ∂2 x0 2 + ω2 x1 + αx0 + 2ω0 ω1 2 = 0. 4 2 4 24ω0 16ω0 48ω0 32ω2 0 0 (17) 3β 5α2 + X 2.shtml 3 . Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari. we again have two additional components to motion: an additional term at oscillation frequency and a term at three times the oscillation frequency. we require the resonant term to be zero leading to ω1 = 0.kaajakari. where 5k2 3k2 ω0 − 12 ω0 . 0 ∂τ2 2 (11) (12) (13) The resonant term1 2ω0 ω1 X0 cos τ on the right side of Equation (13) would result in x1 growing inﬁnitely.net/~ville/research/tutorials/tutorials. 0 1 2 ∂τ ∂τ ∂τ Equation (9) is just the harmonic resonator and has the solution x0 = X0 cos τ. Thus. Solving Equation (13) then leads to x1 = − α 2 3α 2 X + X cos 2τ. This is physically not possible as no energy is pumped into the resonator system. κ= 1 The (19) resonant excitation terms are sometimes referred to as the secular terms.net) Homepage: http://www. Substituting Equations (12) and (14) to (11) gives ω2 0 ∂2 x 2 5α2 3 3β 3 α2 3 β 3 + ω2 x2 = − − 2 X0 + X0 − 2ω0 ω2 X0 cos τ − X + X cos 3τ 0 2 ∂τ 4 6ω0 6ω2 0 4 0 0 (15) We again require that the resonant term is zero giving ω2 = − Solving Equation (15) then leads to x2 = β α2 β α2 3 + X0 cos τ + + X 3 cos 3τ. 0 ∂τ2 ∂τ (10) ∂2 x2 ∂2 x0 ∂2 x 1 3 + ω2 x2 + 2αx0 x1 + βx0 + (ω2 + 2ω0 ω2 ) 2 + 2ω0 ω2 2 = 0. 8k 12k Equation (18) will be used in the next section to analyze forced vibrations of damped resonator.net Tutorials: http://www. Substituting Equation (12) to (10) gives ω2 0 1 2 ∂2 x1 + ω2 x1 = − αX0 (1 + cos 2τ) + 2ω0 ω1 X0 cos τ.

kaajakari.net/~ville/research/tutorials/tutorials.4 (ωω0 /Q)2 + 2 where ω0 = ω0 + κX0 from the previous section.2 ω0 ' k2 > 0 Vibration amplitude -80 -60 -40 Frequency offset [ω – ω0] -20 0 20 40 60 80 Vibration amplitude -80 -60 -40 Frequency offset [ω .6 used to estimate the limit for linear operation. The time harmonic vibration amplitude near the resonance is then given by X0 = 0. 0 0 As Figure 3 indicates.2 ω0 ' k1 > 0 k2 < 0 1. To obtain an analytical estimate for the bifurcation we write ∆ω = ω − ω0 and make use of the approx0. solving for ∂X0 /∂∆ω.4 0. Thus. the amplitude-frequency relationship is no longer a single valued function and shows hysteresis.2 1 ω0 ' k1 > 0 k2 < 0 As we saw in the previous section.Nonlinear forced vibrations Vibration amplitude 1.2 1 0.2 1 0.4 2 imations (ω0 + ∆ω)2 − ω02 = (ω0 + ∆ω + ω0 )(ω0 + ∆ω − ω0 ) ≈ 2ω0 (∆ω − κX0 ) and (ω0 + ∆ω)ω0 ≈ ω2 to 0 write Equation (20) as 0. At large vibration amplitudes the response shows hysteresis.shtml .6 Fω /m . the peak-frequency can shift to k2 > 0 either higher or lower frequency. Frequency offset [ω – ω0] 1. (19) and (20) show that due to a positive 0. at bifurcation point the slope ∂X0 /∂∆ω = ∞.kaajakari.net) Homepage: http://www.ω0] -20 0 20 40 60 80 Figure 2. At higher excitation levels.net Tutorials: http://www. to analyze forced vibrations.0. (20) (ω2 − ω02 )2 0.8 xb shown in Figure 3.4 0. the peak-frequency given by ω = ω0 shifts to a lower frequency with an increasing vibration results amplitude X0 as illustrated in Figure 2. the maximum vibration amplitude before hysteresis xc can be 0. A useful measure of the maximum vibration amplitude is obtained by calculating the bifurcation point 0.8 make use of Equation (18) substitute ω0 → ω0 to Equation (1). Therefore. Depending on the spring constant.6 0.2 curves around the resonance frequency. the main effect nonlinear springs were to change the resonant frequency of the resonator.2 F 2 /m2 2 X0 = (21) 2 (∆ω − κX 2 )2 + ω2 /4Q2 080 -80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 404ω0 60 0 0 Frequency offset [ω .8 0.ω0] or 2 2 (22) X0 4ω2 ((∆ω0 − κX0 )2 + ω2 /4Q2 = F 2 /m2 . Equations (18).2 or negative k1 . Simulated (dotted lines) and analytical (solid lines) resonator amplitude-frequency response ω0 ' 1. and requiring that denumerator is zero (to give ∂X0 /∂∆ω = ∞) leads to 2 X0 Vibration amplitude 1 4Q2 ∆ωκ ± = 4Q4 ∆ω2 κ2 − 3Q2 κ2 ω2 0 6Q2 κ2 . (23) 4 Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari.6 0. Deriving Equation (22).8 0. Similarly. a negative k2-60 -40 in the peak-frequency shifting to a -80 -20 0 20 40 60 80 lower frequency while a positive k2 results in a higher peak-frequency.

that after bifurcation. the amplitude-frequency curve is no longer single valued function.kaajakari. As indicated in Figure 3. At bifurcation point.shtml . where the positive and negative sign are for the positive and negative κ.net) Homepage: http://www. it has to be single valued.net Tutorials: http://www.net/~ville/research/tutorials/tutorials. (26) xc = 3 3Q|κ| As Equation (26) shows. After bifurcation. increasing the quality factor lowers the critical vibration amplitude xc as the resonator is made more susceptible to nonlinearities. Notice also Figure 3. respectively. the critical vibration amplitude (or the greatest vibration amplitude) is slightly higher than the vibration amplitude at the bifurcation point. Requiring that 4Q4 ∆ω2 κ2 − 2 κ2 ω2 = 0 gives 3Q xb 0 √ 3ω0 ∆ω = ± (24) 2Q x at bifurcation. It is obtained by substituting Equations (24) and (25) to Equation (20) and solving for the force. c For Equation (23) to be the bifurcation point. The energy stored in the resonator at the critical vibration amplitude xc is 1 2 Ec = k0 xc 2 and the drive level deﬁned as power dissipated in the resonator is Pc = ω0 Ec .kaajakari. Implications As we have seen. the slope of the amplitude-frequency curve becomes inﬁnite. Q (28) 5 (27) Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari. the maximum linear vibration amplitude is limited by nonlinearity and the nonlinear effects therefore set the upper limit to the resonator dynamic range (the lower limit being set by noise). The amplitude of vibrations at resonance due to this force is 4ω √ 0 .x xc xb x ω0 ω ω0 ω µm the amplitude-frequency curve hasx unstable region (dotted line) resulting in frequency hysteresis. Substituting back to (20) gives ω0 xb = √ (25) ω0 ω 3Q|κ| for the bifurcation point.

k1 = km1 + ke1 . the capacitive nonlinearity dominates. 3 To ﬁrst order. as the beam L is displaced. Similarly. Figure 5 shows the analytical and simulated responses at different bias voltages. At higher bias voltages.kaajakari. and the peak frequency tilts towards lower frequencies3 .net) Homepage: http://www. 0 Udc Udc Length Width Height L[µm] w[µm] h[µm] B[µm] d[µm] Q 100 5 10 25 0. As is typical in MEMS. Typically. we’ll consider the clamped-clamped beam resonator shown in Figure 4. The mechanical spring constant is obtained from the large deformation analysis.Equation (28) also gives the maximum output power that can be obtained from the resonator 2 Clamped-clamped beam example To demonstrate the results of this tutorial. We therefore write the spring constant as k = km + ke . the mechanical spring constant dominates and the resonant peak shifts to a higher frequency. Clamped-clamped beam example.net Tutorials: http://www. the spring forces have both mechanical and electrical origin. the restoring force increases with displacement.net/~ville/research/tutorials/tutorials. it goes into tension giving rise to additional restoring force. The electrical nonlinearity arises from the inverse relationship between displacement and parallel plate capacitance. The spring constants are obtained as Taylor series expansion of the electrostatic force giving F= 2 2 Udc ∂C UdcC0 = 2 ∂x 2d 2 3 4 1 + x + 2 x2 + 3 x3 + O(x4 ) . d d d (30) where C0 is the initial gap capacitance. This is analogous to a string x anchored from both ends: increasing the spring tension increases the restoring force.kaajakari.4 10 000 in out Electrode length Electrode gap Quality factor Figure 4. The ﬁrst term is the dc-force term and the spring constant is recognized from the higher order terms as ke = − dc2 0 d 3 ke1 = 2d ke ke2 = d22 ke U2 C (31) Notice that the linear electrostatic spring is negative thus lowering the resonator resonanace frequency. the source and load resistances are equal and same power is dissipated in the source and load. A keen 2 Remember: for the optimal power matching.shtml 6 . Also notice that the resonance frequency too changes to a lower frequency with increasing bias voltage. At low voltages. we can even compensate the mechanical nonlinearity with capacitive nonlinearity! Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari. we use the ﬁrst-order approximation for the spring constant given by km1 = 0 ( ) (29) x ( ( )) km2 = √km 2 ϕ 2w L ≈ L0 1 + 2 x / L ≈ L0 1 + 2 x / L 2 F = Ywh ∂L L0 2 L0/2 As Equation (29) indicates. and k1 = km2 + ke2 where m and e refer to mechanical and electrical origin. ﬁnite element simulations are used but for tutorial purposes.

325 4.02 0.08 0.06 0.kaajakari.334 4.eye may notice that that in case of capacitive nonlinearity.01 4. there is small deviation between the simulated and theoretical curves. 0. Landau and E.03 0.327 Udc = 15 V Figure 5. Copyright Ville Kaajakari (ville@kaajakari. M. D.07 0.337 Udc = 1 V 0. However.07 0.09 Vibration amplitude [nm] Vibration amplitude [nm] 0. of Microelectromechanical Systems 13 (2004) 715-724.05 0. Butterworth-Heinemann. T.33 4.net) Homepage: http://www.07 0.04 0.net/~ville/research/tutorials/tutorials. 3rd ed. [2] L.03 0.324 4.08 0. References [1] V. Oxford. This is due to fact that we have kept terms only to third-order in Equation (30). Lifshitz.08 0.01 4.09 0.05 0.01 4.331 4. 1999. Mechanics.02 0.02 0.06 0. 4 This is left as an exercise to the reader. A.kaajakari. Sepp¨ .04 0.03 0.06 0.shtml 7 . Mattila.336 Frequency [MHz] 4.326 Frequency [MHz] 4. Keeping terms to O(x5 ) would accurately reproduce the capacitive nonlinearity to hysteresis limit4 .net Tutorials: http://www.09 Vibration amplitude [nm] 0. and H.05 0. IEEE J.335 4. Oja.332 Frequency [MHz] 4. Kaajakari.333 Udc = 10 V 0.04 0.. Equations (25) and (26) still give a reasonably good order-of-magnitude estimation of the maximum vibration amplitude. Nonlinear limits for single-crystal silicon microresa onators. Simulated (dotted lines) and analytical (solid lines) responses for the beam example.

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