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A novel microelecromechnical system (MEMS) inertial switch based on the surface micromachining technology was developed, which mainly consists of a proof mass as the movable electrode and a compliant stationary electrode above the proof mass, whose deformation during the contact process would enhance the contact effect and prolong the switch-on time. Based on the original design which had already realized the enhancing effect to some extent, the device structure was redesigned as a centrosymmetric structure with the stationary electrode changed from two bridge-type beams to one cross beam in order to reduce the off-axis sensitivity. More importantly, a contact point was installed on top of the proof mass, changing the effective contact area of the stationary electrode from its end to the center, which undergoes the largest deformation. Therefore, the contact effect would be improved further, which has been confirmed by the ANSYS transient simulation. This simulation combined with the Simulink dynamic simulation described the device behavior, which were in agreement with the drop hammer tests. The threshold acceleration of the redesigned inertial microswitch was around 70 g, and the tested switch-on time reached 30 mus, more satisfactory than the original design.
Date of Publication: July 2009