MEMS cantilever beam and electrostic actuation

One of the very basic MEMS structures is the cantilever beam. This structure can be used in a variety of applications including RF switching, varactors, switches, capacitors, springs etc. Among the many ways to actuate the operation of a cantilever is electrostatics. In this case a voltage is applied across the movable arm of the beam and a baseplate or reference terminal that resides directly below the beam. To bend the beam and to make contact with the baseplate a pull in voltage is necessary. Once the applied voltage reaches the pull in voltage the beam bends and makes contact with the base plate. When the pull in voltage is removed the spring force of the beam restores it to its original state, as long the elastic limits of the beam are not exceeded. A brief whitepaper on this operation is available to interested parties in the engineering pages of Signal Processing Group Inc’s website located at

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