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Robust Design of RF-MEMS Cantilever Switches Using Contact Physics Modeling

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7 Author(s)

This paper presents the robust design optimization of an RF-MEMS direct contact cantilever switch for minimum actuation voltage and opening time, and maximum power handling capability. The design variables are the length and thickness of the entire cantilever, the widths of the sections of the cantilever, and the dimple size. The actuation voltage is obtained using a 3-D structural-electrostatic finite-element method (FEM) model, and the opening time is obtained using the same FEM model and the experimental model of adhesion at the contact surfaces developed in our previous work. The model accounts for an unpredictable variance in the contact resistance resulting from the micromachining process for the estimation of the power handling. This is achieved by taking the ratio of the root mean square power of the RF current (ldquosignalrdquo) passing through the switch to the contact temperature (ldquonoiserdquo) resulting from the possible range of the contact resistance. The resulting robust optimization problem is solved using a Strength Pareto Evolutionary Algorithm, to obtain design alternatives exhibiting different tradeoffs among the three objectives. The results show that there exists substantial room for improved designs of RF-MEMS direct-contact switches. It also provides a better understanding of the key factors contributing to the performances of RF-MEMS switches. Most importantly, it provides guidance for further improvements of RF-MEMS switches that exploit complex multiphysics phenomena.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 4 )