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A novel approach for cost effective fabrication, assembly, and packaging of radio-frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS) capacitive switches using flexible circuit processing techniques is reported. The key feature of this approach is the use of most commonly used flexible circuit film, Kapton-E polyimide film, as the movable switch membrane. The physical dimensions of these switches are in the mesoscale range. For example, electrode area and gap height of a capacitive shunt switch on coplanar waveguide are 2 × 1 mm2 and 43 μm, respectively. Pull-down voltage is in the range of 90-100 V. In the ON state (up-position), the insertion loss is less than 0.3-0.4 dB up to 30 GHz. In OFF state (down-position), the isolation value is about 15 dB at 12 GHz and increases to 36 dB at 30 GHz. These switches are uniquely suitable for batch integration with printed circuits and antennas on laminate substrates.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2003