An electrostatic actuator having a first member and a second member. The first member has a first opposed surface that includes an array of driven electrodes. The driven electrodes have a pitch p.sub.r. The second member has a second opposed surface and includes an array of drive electrodes. A support positions the first member adjacent the second member with the first opposed surface spaced apart from the second opposed surface by a spacing d. The ratio of the spacing and the pitch should be less than eight, and is preferably less than 2.25. The support permits the first member to move relative to the second member, or vice versa. A voltage source establishes a substantially alternating voltage pattern on the array of driven electrodes. An electrode control establishes a substantially alternating voltage pattern on the array of drive electrodes, and selectively imposes a local disruption on the substantially alternating voltage pattern on the array of drive electrodes to move the movable one of the first member and the second member relative to the other.