Comb actuators are electrostatic drives commonly used in micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). These devices are typically fabricated using standard Integrated Circuit (IC) fabrication techniques such as lithography, oxidation, chemical vapor deposition and etching. The design of MEMS devices such as comb actuators is a complex process due to the dimensionality of the parametric design space and the parametric interdependencies imposed by performance, manufacturability and reliability constraints. We present a study aimed at the decomposition and structured organization of the various design and manufacturability considerations for comb actuators. The value of this knowledge organization is illustrated by the formulation and solution of a design problem that ensures optimal parametric design and layout of a comb actuator on a silicon wafer. We combine analytical models and specialized fabrication “design rules” to obtain optimal solutions for two interesting problems in MEMS comb actuator design.

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