Volume 77, Number 2, January 2007
Article Number 20010
Number of page(s) 6
Section General
Published online 19 January 2007
EPL, 77 (2007) 20010
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/77/20010

Effects of Casimir force on pull-in instability in micromembranes

R. C. Batra1, M. Porfiri2 and D. Spinello1

1  Department of Engineering Science & Mechanics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Blacksburg VA 24061, USA
2  Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Manufacturing Engineering, Polytechnic University - Brooklyn NY 11201, USA

received 5 September 2006; accepted in final form 21 November 2006; published January 2007
published online 19 January 2007

We analyze pull-in instability of electrostatically actuated microelectromechanical systems, and study changes in pull-in parameters due to the Casimir effect. When the size of the device is reduced, the magnitude of the Casimir force is comparable with that of the Coulomb force and it significantly alters pull-in parameters. We model the deformable conductor as an elastic membrane and consider different geometries. Beyond a certain critical size the pull-in instability occurs with zero applied voltage, and the device may collapse during the fabrication process.

03.65.Sq - Semiclassical theories and applications .
07.10.Cm - Micromechanical devices and systems .
85.85.+j - Micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) and devices .

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007