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Design and process considerations for fabricating RF MEMS switches on printed circuit boards

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6 Author(s)
Hung-Pin Chang ; Dept. of Mater. Sci. & Eng., Univ. of California, Irvine, CA, USA ; Jiangyuan Qian ; Cetiner, B.A. ; De Flaviis, F.
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Design considerations and process development for fabricating radio frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS) switches on microwave laminate printed circuit boards (PCBs) are presented in details in this work. Two key processes, high-density inductively coupled plasma chemical vapor deposition (HDICP CVD) for low-temperature silicon nitride deposition, and compressive molding planarization (COMP) have been developed for fabricating RF MEMS switches on PCB. The effects of process conditions of HDICP CVD on low-temperature nitride film are fully characterized for its use in RF MEMS switches on PCB. Not only can COMP planarize the surface of the photoresist for lithographic patterning over topologically complex surfaces, but also simultaneously create a membrane relief pattern on the surface of a MEMS structure. Several membrane-type capacitive switches have been fabricated showing excellent RF performance and dynamic responses similar to those on semiconductor substrates. This technology promises the potential of enabling further monolithic integration of switches with other RF components, such as antennas, microwave monolithic integrated circuits (MMICs), phase shifters, tunable filters, and transmission lines on the same PCBs reducing the losses due to impedance mismatching from components/system assembly and simplifies the design of the whole RF system. [1416].

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Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 6 )