On Fourth Order PDEs Modelling Electrostatic Micro-Electronical Systems

Speaker: Nassif Ghoussoub

Date: Thu, Jul 9, 2009

Location: University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Conference: 1st PRIMA Congress

Subject: Mathematics, Partial Differential Equations

Class: Scientific


Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) and Nano-ElectroMechanical Systems (NEMS) are now a well established sector of contemporary technology. A key component of such systems is the simple idealized electrostatic device consisting of a thin and deformable plate that is held fixed along its boundary $\partial \Omega$, where $\Omega$ is a bounded domain in $\mathbf{R}^2.$ The plate, which lies below another parallel rigid grounded plate (say at level $z=1$) has its upper surface coated with a negligibly thin metallic conducting film, in such a way that if a voltage l is applied to the conducting film, it deflects towards the top plate, and if the applied voltage is increased beyond a certain critical value $l^*$, it then proceeds to touch the grounded plate. The steady-state is then lost, and we have a snap-through at a finite time creating the so-called pull-in instability. A proposed model for the deflection is given by the evolution equation $$\frac{\partial u}{\partial t} - \Delta u + d\Delta^2 u = \frac{\lambda f(x)}{(1-u^2)}\qquad\mbox{for}\qquad x\in\Omega, t\gt 0 $$ $$u(x,t) = d\frac{\partial u}{\partial t}(x,t) = 0 \qquad\mbox{for}\qquad x\in\partial\Omega, t\gt 0$$ $$u(x,0) = 0\qquad\mbox{for}\qquod x\in\Omega$$
Now unlike the model involving only the second order Laplacian (i.e., $d = 0$), very little is known about this equation. We shall explain how, besides the above practical considerations, the model is an extremely rich source of interesting mathematical phenomena.