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Journal Articles Micromachines Year : 2022

Case Study of a MEMS Snap-Through Actuator: Modeling and Fabrication Considerations

Zhichao Shi
  • Function : Author
Emile Martincic
Johan Moulin
  • Function : Author
Elie Lefeuvre
Frédéric Lamarque
  • Function : Author


MEMS actuators rely on the deformation of silicon structures. Using dimensions smaller than dozens of micrometers reveals that the micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) actuators are affected by fabrication inaccuracies, leading to hardly predictable forces and/or actuation results. In this paper, MEMS bistable buckled beam actuators are presented. A series of structures based on pre-shaped buckled beams of lengths ranging from 2 to 4 mm, constant width of 5 μm and actuation stroke ranging from 20 to 100 μm was fabricated. Experimental data show a significant difference with predictions from a conventional analytical model. The model commonly used for buckled beams design assumes a rectangular beam section, but it is not the case of the fabricated beams. Furthermore, only symmetric buckling modes (mode 1, mode 3…) are supposed to exist during snap-through. In this paper, new analytical models have been developed on the basis of the models of the literature to consider the effective beam shape. The first improved analytical model enabled prediction of the MEMS buckled beams mechanical behavior in a 30% margin on the whole range of operation. A second model has been introduced to consider both the effective shape of the beam and centro-symmetric buckling modes. This refined model exhibits the partial suppression of buckling mode 2 by a central shuttle. Therefore, mode 2 and mode 3 coexist at the beginning and the end of snap-through, while mode 3 quickly vanishes due to increasing rotation of the central shuttle to leave exclusive presence of mode 2 near the mid-stroke. With this refined model, the effective force-displacement curve can be predicted in a margin reduced to a few percentages in the center zone of the response curve, allowing the accurate prediction of the position switch force. In addition, the proposed model allows accurate results to be reached with very small calculation time.

Dates and versions

hal-04116495 , version 1 (04-06-2023)



Zhichao Shi, Emile Martincic, Johan Moulin, Elie Lefeuvre, Frédéric Lamarque. Case Study of a MEMS Snap-Through Actuator: Modeling and Fabrication Considerations. Micromachines, 2022, 13 (5), pp.654. ⟨10.3390/mi13050654⟩. ⟨hal-04116495⟩
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