This research investigates the dynamics, design, and control of gap-closing, electrostatic actuators. Because of nonlinearity, gap-closing actuators can give rise to complicated behavior, such as instability, frequency tuning, and parametric resonance. We have demonstrated charge control circuits that stabilize gap-closing actuators and increase the range of motion from 33% of the gap to more than 90% of the gap. We have designed a gyroscope proof-mass with parallel-plate actuators for low voltage oscillation in air with frequency tuning. We have identified parasitic effects, such as high-frequency vibrations and parametric resonance, that reduce stability and introduce quadrature errors. Currently we are designing the control to stabilize the proof-mass oscillations and minimize the oscillator phase noise.
Project end date: 01/21/04