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A Novel Linear MEMS Capacitor With Triangular Electrodes and Nonlinear Structural Stiffness

[+] Author Affiliations
Mohammad Shavezipur, Amir Khajepour

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

Seyed Mohammad Hashemi

Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada

Paper No. DETC2008-49270, pp. 819-824; 6 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 20th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; Second International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Brooklyn, New York, USA, August 3–6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4328-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3831-5
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


MEMS parallel-plate tunable capacitors have high Q-factors and fast responses to the actuation and therefore are desired for RF applications. However, conventional designs have low tuning ratios and nonlinear capacitance-voltage (C-V) responses which are highly sensitive to the voltage change near pull-in. In this research, a novel structure for parallel-plate-based capacitors is introduced. The capacitor has electrodes with triangular shape and uneven supporting beams and is equipped with a set of middle beams which increases the structural stiffness of the capacitor as bias voltage increases. Because the asymmetric design alters the parallelness of the plates, the stiffness of each middle beam is added to the system at a different voltage causing a smooth increment in structural stiffness. To analyze the capacitor and optimize the design, an analytical model is developed to solve the coupled electrostatic-structural physics. The results of numerical simulations reveal that if the stiffness coefficients of supporting and middle beams are optimized, a highly linear C-V response is obtained. Moreover, since the structural rigidity is gradually increased with voltage, the sensitivity of the response to the voltage change is also improved and a higher tunability over 150% is achieved. The proposed design has a simple geometry and can be fabricated by a three-structural-layer process such as PolyMUMPs.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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