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Fabrication of micromechanical switches for routing radio frequency signals

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4 Author(s)
Randall, John N. ; Corporate Research and Development, Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas 75243 ; Goldsmith, Chuck ; Denniston, David ; Lin, Tsen‐Hwang

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Micromechanical switches have several advantages over other switch technologies for the routing of microwave and mm‐wave signals. They offer low loss, low switching power, very low standby power, and are extremely linear. The switching speeds are very slow compared to solid state switches; however, for a number of applications, their specifications appear attractive. For instance, electronically steerable antenna arrays operating at 10, 20, and 30 GHz need phase shifters for each antenna element. Micromechanical RF switches that offered lower losses could find significant applications as phase shifters for telecommunications applications. We describe the fabrication of membrane micromechanical RF switches that switch signals of 10 GHz and higher. Dry etching plays a critical role in fabrication. In particular the isotropic removal of a sacrificial polymer layer between the bottom electrode and the membrane is a critical process. Reasonable rates must be obtained at moderate temperatures and there must be as little residue as possible. A high degree of selectivity over that of the capacitor dielectric is also a requirement. Our process should be compatible with microwave monolithic integrated circuit (MMIC) processing technology allowing integration with RF amplifiers and other components. © 1996 American Vacuum Society

Published in:

Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Nov 1996

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