Low Voltage Electrostatic Actuation and Displacement Measurement through Resonant Drive Circuit
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An electrostatic actuator driven by conventional voltage control and charge control requires high actuation voltage and suffers from the pull-in phenomenon that limits its operation range, much less than its entire gap. To provide effective solutions to these problems, we present complete analytical and numerical models of various electrostatic actuators coupled with resonant drive circuits that are able to drive electrostatic actuators at much lower input voltage than that of conventional actuation methods and to extend their operation range beyond their conventional pull-in points in the presence of high parasitic capacitance. Moreover, in order to validate the analytical and numerical models of various electrostatic actuators coupled with the resonant drive circuits, we perform the experiment on the microplate and the micromirror coupled with the resonant drive circuit. For instance, using a high voltage amplifier, we manage to rotate the micromirror with sidewall electrodes by 6 ° at 180 V. However, using the resonant drive circuit, we are able to rotate the same micromirror by 6 ° at much lower input voltage, 8.5 V. In addition, the presented work also facilitates the stability analysis of electrostatic actuators coupled with the resonant drive circuits and provides how the effect of the parasitic capacitance can be minimized. For example, the resonant drive circuit placed within a positive feedback loop of a variable gain amplifier is able to extend the operation range much further even in the presence of very high parasitic capacitance. The resonant drive circuit with the proposed feedback controllers is also able to minimize the detrimental effects of the parasitic capacitance and to displace a parallel-plate actuator over its entire gap without the saddle-node bifurcation. Finally, we present a new displacement measurement method of electrostatic actuators coupled with the resonant drive circuits by sensing the phase delay of an actuation voltage with respect to an input voltage. This new measurement method allows us to easily implement feedback control into existent systems employing an electrostatic actuator without any modification or alteration to the electrostatic actuator itself. Hence, this research work presents the feasibility of electrostatic actuators coupled with the resonant drive circuit in various industrial and medical applications, in which the advantages of miniaturization, low supply voltage, and low power consumption are greatly appreciated.