On the nonlinear resonances and dynamic pull-in of electrostatically actuated resonators

Fadi M. Alsaleem, Mohammad I. Younis, Hassen M. Ouakad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


We present modeling, analysis and experimental investigation for nonlinear resonances and the dynamic pull-in instability in electrostatically actuated resonators. These phenomena are induced by exciting a microstructure with nonlinear forcing composed of a dc parallel-plate electrostatic load superimposed on an ac harmonic load. Nonlinear phenomena are investigated experimentally and theoretically including primary resonance, superharmonic and subharmonic resonances, dynamic pull-in and the escape-from-potential-well phenomenon. As a case study, a capacitive sensor made up of two cantilever beams with a proof mass attached to their tips is studied. A nonlinear spring-mass-damper model is utilized accounting for squeeze-film damping and the parallel-plate electrostatic force. Long-time integration and a global dynamic analysis are conducted using a finite-difference method combined with the Floquet theory to capture periodic orbits and analyze their stability. The domains of attraction (basins of attraction) for data points on the frequency-response curve are calculated numerically. Dover cliff integrity curves are calculated and the erosion of the safe basin of attraction is investigated as the frequency of excitation is swept passing primary resonance and dynamic pull-in. Conclusions are presented regarding the safety and integrity of MEMS resonators based on the simulated basin of attraction and the observed experimental data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045013
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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