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Thin-Film Encapsulated RF MEMS Switches

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4 Author(s)
Leedy, K.D. ; Sensors Directorate, Air Force Inst. of Technol., Wright-Patterson AFB, OH ; Strawser, R.E. ; Cortez, R. ; Ebel, J.L.

A wafer-level thin-film encapsulation process has been demonstrated to package radio-frequency (RF) microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches in this paper. Individual shunt capacitive switches were packaged in a ~1nL inorganic enclosure with process temperatures not exceeding 300 degC. A shell covering the switch consisted of 10 nm of sputtered alumina and 1.67 mum of sputtered silicon nitride dielectric film. The switch and dielectric shell were simultaneously wet-released through access channels in the shell. Following release, access channels were sealed with 10 nm of sputtered alumina and 2-4 mum of either plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposited silicon dioxide or silicon nitride. Electromagnetic simulation and RF test results before and after sealing show minimal RF degradation of switch performance. Before sealing, the insertion loss and isolation at 10 GHz averaged 0.12 and 10.7 dB, respectively. After sealing, the same devices had an average insertion loss and isolation of 0.12 and 10.1 dB, respectively. Complete characterization of the package atmosphere was not completed due to challenges in assessing nanoliter-scale volumes

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 2 )