Mathematical Modeling of Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

Dr. Alan Lindsay (Heriot-Watt University)

Thursday 25th July, 2013 14:00-15:00 Maths 204


Micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are a collection of miniature devices which play a large role in modern technological and scientific applications. MEMS engineers combine integrated circuitry with movable elastic surfaces and electrostatic forcing to create a multitude of useful devices such as resonators, pumps, sensors etc. While electrostatic forces are key to creating locomotion on small spatial scales, they can also overwhelm the structural integrity of the devices when they are too large - this is known as the pull-in instability. Mathematical models are a central tool in efforts to quantify, and when necessary, prevent the pull-in instability. In this talk I will outline the basic principles that go into deriving such models which ultimately take the form of high order nonlinear parabolic PDEs. The equations themselves are amenable to numerical and analytical study which reveal very interesting and rich dynamical behaviour with significant implications for the design of MEMS.

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