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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

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

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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