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A low-voltage lateral MEMS switch with high RF performance

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4 Author(s)
Ye Wang ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of California, Davis, CA, USA ; Zhihong Li ; McCormick, D.T. ; Tien, N.C.

MEMS switches are one of the most promising future micromachined products that have attracted numerous research efforts in recent years. The majority of MEMS switches reported to date employ electrostatic actuation, which requires large actuation voltages. Few are lateral relays and those often require nonstandard post process, and none of them is intended for high-frequency applications. We have developed an electrothermally actuated lateral-contact microrelay for RF applications. It is designed and fabricated on both low-resistivity and high-resistivity silicon substrate using surface micromachining techniques. The microrelay utilizing the parallel six-beam actuator requires an actuation voltage of 2.5-3.5 V. Time response is measured to be 300 μs and maximum operating frequency is 2.1 kHz. The RF signal line has a current handling capability of approximately 50 mA. The microrelay's power consumption is in the range of 60-100 mW. The lateral contact mechanism of the microrelay provides a high RF performance. The microrelay has an off-state isolation of -20 dB at 40 GHz and an insertion loss of -0.1 dB up to 50 GHz. The simplicity of this 4-mask fabrication process enables the possibility of integrating the microrelay with other passive RF MEMS components.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 6 )