Simultaneous actuation and displacement sensing for electrostatic drives

Jingyan Dong, Placid M. Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a method for driving a MEMS electrostatic actuator, while simultaneously sensing the resulting displacement/capacitance without the use of an additional physical sensing structure. The approach superposes the sensing and actuation signals into a single input into the system and obtains its mechanical (displacement) response from the modulation (amplitude or phase) it produces on the sensing input. The approach is analyzed and experimentally shown to produce an amplitude modulation of 0.1857 mV νm-1 of displacement on electrostatic drive that produces a displacement of 14 νm at 100 V and a 0.55 pF capacitance change from a nominal capacitance of 0.35 Pico farads. The approach enables a very cost-effective and convenient approach to detect the displacement of MEMS devices for a variety of applications in the laboratory environment, and provide a potential feedback signal for closed-loop control of electrostatically driven MEMS devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035011
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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