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RF MEMS phase shifters: design and applications

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3 Author(s)
Rebeiz, G.M. ; Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Tan, Guan-Leng ; Hayden, Joseph S.

Recent results obtained with MEMS phase shifters demonstrate that their performance is much better than GaAs phase shifters using either standard (switched-line, reflect-line) or distributed designs. The reliability of MEMS phase shifters is worse than of single switches since they employ 8-16 MEMS switches and do not tolerate a failure in any of the switches. On the other hand, a large phased array will still function properly, albeit with a slightly decreased efficiency and higher sidelobes if 3-4% of the phase shifters fail. Currently, the failure mechanisms of MEMS switches are being investigated and will greatly benefit the reliability of MEMS phase shifters. Also, the hermetic packaging of MEMS phase shifters is not straightforward, due to their relatively large size. It is for these reasons that the authors believe that MEMS phase shifters will be mostly used in satellite and defense applications in the next five years

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Microwave Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 2 )