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This paper reports on design and fabrication aspects of a new microelectromechanical series switch for switching dc and RF signals. The switch consists of a flexible S-shaped film with the switching contact, rolling between a top and a bottom electrode in electrostatic touch-mode actuation. This design allows a low actuation voltage independent of the contact distance in the off-state. With a large contact distance, large overlapping switching contact areas are possible by obtaining a high off-state isolation. The RF transmission line and the MEMS part of the switch are fabricated on separate wafers, allowing an implementation of the switch with different RF substrates. The final assembly is done on device level for the first prototypes, even though the design provides the possibility of an assembly by full wafer bonding, leading to a near-hermetic package integrated switch. The measured prototype actuation voltages are 12 V to open and 15.8 V to close the contacts, with a resistance of 275 mΩ of each contact at an estimated contact force of 102 μN. The measured RF isolation with a contact distance of 14.2 μm is better than -45 dB up to 2 GHz and -30 dB at 15 GHz, at a large nominal switching contact area of 3500 μm2.
Date of Publication: June 2004