Multistability in microbeams: Numerical simulations and experiments in capacitive switches and resonant atomic force microscopy systems
The nonlinear multiphysics forces present in the devices are critical to the switching behavior exploited for novel applications, but are also a culprit in a common failure mode when the attractive forces overcome the restorative and repulsive forces to result in two elements sticking together. Quasistatic operation is functional for switching between multistable states during normal conditions, but is insufficient under such stiction-failure. Exploration of dynamic methods for stiction release is often the only option for many system configurations. But how and when is release achieved? To investigate the fundamental mechanism of dynamic release, an atomic force microscopy (AFM) system -- a microcantilever with a motion-controlled base and a single-asperity probe tip, measured and actuated via lasers -- is configured to replicate elements of a stiction-failed MEMS device. Through this surrogate, observable dynamic signatures of microcantilever deflection indicate the onset of detachment between the probe and a sample.
Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
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