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Characterization of dynamics and power handling of RF MEMS using vector measurement techniques

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3 Author(s)
Girbau, D. ; Dept. of Signal Theor. & Commun., Univ. Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain ; Lazaro, A. ; Pradell, L.

This paper proposes a new method to measure dynamics and power handling of RF microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices based on a mobile membrane. The method uses in-phase/quadrature demodulation of an RF signal proportional to the reflection coefficient of the measured device, which contains information of its mechanical properties, such as actuation and release times and instantaneous position of the mobile membrane. Both one-port (capacitors) and two-port devices (switches and extended tuning-range capacitors) can be measured. Its main advantage is the capability of obtaining information from both magnitude and phase variations of the device reflection coefficient to characterize its dynamics and power handling. It is shown that detecting phase is advantageous in high quality factor capacitors, where the magnitude of the reflection coefficient is nearly constant for any position of the mobile membrane. Open-short-load calibration of the system is provided in order to obtain absolute measurements, which are necessary for power-handling characterization. The performances of the proposed method are demonstrated by comparison to systems based on detection of the magnitude of the reflection coefficient. A MEMS capacitor is characterized in terms of dynamics-actuation and release times, and mechanical resonance frequency and in terms of power handling-membrane instantaneous position and phase and tuning range variation.

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Microwave Theory and Techniques, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:52 ,  Issue: 11 )