Nonlinear, mechanical microelectromechanical system (MEMS) resonating structures exhibit large displacement and a relatively broad operating bandwidth. These unique features make them particularly of interest for the development of MEMS actuators and sensors. In this work, a mechanical MEMS structure allowing the designer to determine the type of nonlinearity, that is, softening or hardening, based on its anchor scheme is presented. Effects of the excitation signal on the behavior of the proposed MEMS in the frequency domain are investigated. In this regard, a comprehensive experimental comparison among the nonlinear behaviors of softening and hardening has been conducted. To reduce the hysteresis effect to a minimum, an excitation approach, which is a pulsed sweep in frequency with a discrete resolution, is presented. The maximal velocity, quality factor, bandwidth, and resonant frequency of these two types of nonlinear MEMS resonators are compared under three different types of excitation. Finally, it is shown that the performance and characteristics extracted from nonlinear mechanical MEMS resonating structures are highly dependent on the excitation method. Hence, in the present case, the apparent performances of the MEMS resonator can increase by up to 150% or decrease by up to 21%, depending on the excitation approaches. This implies the necessity of a standardized testing methodology for nonlinear MEMS resonators for given end applications.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited