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Design Optimisation of an Electrostatic MEMS Actuator with Low Spring Constant for an “Atom Chip”

H.A. Rouabah, C.O. Gollasch and M. Kraft
University of Southampton, UK

Keywords:
MEMS, actuator, electrostatic, suspention, spring constant, modeling

Abstract:
The advance of MEMS based sensors and microfabrication techniques has facilitated innovative technologies such as so-called ‘atom chips’, where a cloud of ultra cold atoms in a Bose Einstein Condensate (BEC) is controlled and manipulated by magnetic confinement fields. One important part of an atom chip is a three dimensional (3D) electrostatic actuator which allows the precise spatial alignment between an optical fibre and a mirror, forming an optical cavity. This cavity is used to detect the BEC atom cloud. This paper shows how the application of a novel suspension design has led to an improvement in the design and performance of a 3D electrostatic actuator for an atom chip. The design has achieved a lower spring constant in Z direction, and hence a reduced actuation voltage requirement. The analytical model derived has been in a good agreement with the simulated model.

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