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A Ruthenium-Based Multimetal-Contact RF MEMS Switch With a Corrugated Diaphragm

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3 Author(s)
Feixiang Ke ; Sch. of Mech. & Aerosp. Eng., Nanyang Technol. Univ., Singapore ; Jianmin Miao ; Oberhammer, J.

This paper presents a ruthenium metal-contact RF microelectromechanical system switch based on a corrugated silicon oxide/silicon nitride diaphragm. The corrugations are designed to substantially reduce the influence of the fabrication-induced stress in the membrane, resulting in a highly insensitive design to process parameter variations. Furthermore, a novel multilayer metal-contact concept, comprising a 50-nm chromium/50-nm ruthenium/500-nm gold/50-nm ruthenium structure, is introduced to improve the contact reliability by having a hard-metal surface of ruthenium without substantial compromise in the contact and transmission-line resistances, which is shown by theoretical analysis of the contact physics and confirmed by measurement results. The contact resistance of the novel metallization stack is investigated for different contact pressures and is compared to pure-gold contacts. The contact reliability is investigated for different dc signal currents. At a measurement current of 1.6 mA, the Ru-Au-Ru contacts have an average lifetime of about 100 million cycles, whereas the Au-Au contacts reach 24 million cycles only. For larger signal currents, the metal contacts have proven to be more robust over the Au-Au contacts by a factor of ten. The measured pull-in voltage is reduced significantly from 61 V for flat diaphragm to 36 V for corrugated diaphragm with the introduction of corrugation. The measured RF isolation with a nominal contact separation of 5 mum is better than -30 dB up to 4 GHz and still -21 dB at 15 GHz, whereas the insertion loss of the fully packaged switch including its transmission line is about -0.7 dB up to 4 GHz and -2.8 dB at 15 GHz.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 6 )