We present analysis of the global dynamics of electrically actuated microbeams under subharmonic excitation. The microbeams are excited by a DC electrostatic force and an AC harmonic force with a frequency tuned near twice their fundamental natural frequencies. We show that the dynamic pull-in instability can occur in this case for an electric load much lower than that predicted with static analysis and the same order-of-magnitude as that predicted in the case of primary-resonance excitation. We show that, once the subharmonic resonance is activated, all frequency-response curves reach pull-in, regardless of the magnitude of the AC forcing. Our results show a limited influence of the quality factor on the frequency response. This result and the fact that the frequency-response curves have very steep passband-to-stopband transitions make the combination of a DC voltage and a subhormonic of order one-half a promising candidate for designing improved high-sensitive RF MEMS filters.

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