Due to the position-dependent nature of electrostatic forces, many microelectromechanical (MEM) oscillators inherently feature parametric excitation. This work considers the nonlinear response of one such oscillator, which is electrostatically actuated via non-interdigitated comb drives. Unlike other parametrically-excited systems, which feature only linear parametric excitation in their equation of motion, the oscillator in question here exhibits parametric excitation in both its linear and nonlinear terms. This complication proves to significantly enrich the system’s dynamics. Amongst the interesting consequences is the fact that the system’s nonlinear response proves to be qualitatively dependent on the system’s excitation amplitude. This paper includes an introduction to the equation of motion of interest, a brief, yet systematic, analysis of the equation’s nonlinear response, and experimental evidence of the predicted behavior as measured from an actual MEM oscillator.

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