Dynamics of an electrically actuated resonant microsensor

E. M. Abdel-Rahman, A. H. Nayfeh, M. I. Younis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We present a nonlinear model of an electrically actuated microbeam-based resonant microsensor encompassing the electrostatic force of an air gap capacitor, the restoring force of the microbeam, and the axial load applied to the microbeam. The model accounts for moderately large deflections, dynamic loads, and the coupling between the mechanical and electrical forces. It accounts for the nonlinearity in the elastic restoring forces and the electric forces. A perturbation method, the method of multiple scales, is applied to the distributed-parameter system to study the local dynamics of the sensor under primary, superharmonic, and subharmonic excitations. In each case, we obtain two first-order nonlinear ordinary-differential equations that describe the modulation of the amplitude and phase of the response and its stability, and hence the bifurcations of the response. The perturbation results are validated by comparing them to experimental results. The DC electrostatic load affects the qualitative and quantitative nature of the frequency-response curves, resulting in either a softening or a hardening behavior. The results also show that an inaccurate representation of the system nonlinearities may lead to a qualitatively and quantitatively erroneous prediction of the frequency-response curves. The results provide an analytical tool to predict a microsensor response to primary, superharmonic, and subharmonic excitations, specifically the locations of sudden jumps and regions of hysteretic behavior allowing designers to examine the impact of the design parameters on the device behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - International Conference on MEMS, NANO and Smart Systems, ICMENS 2003
EditorsWalied Moussa, Wael Badawy
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)0769519474, 9780769519470
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on MEMS, NANO and Smart Systems, ICMENS 2003 - Banff, Canada
Duration: Jul 20 2003Jul 23 2003

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on MEMS, NANO and Smart Systems, ICMENS 2003


OtherInternational Conference on MEMS, NANO and Smart Systems, ICMENS 2003

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2003 IEEE.


  • Capacitors
  • Electrostatics
  • Frequency
  • Mechanical sensors
  • Microsensors
  • Nonlinear dynamical systems
  • Nonlinear equations
  • Perturbation methods
  • Resonance
  • Sensor systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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