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RF MEMS Metal-Contact Switches With mN-Contact and Restoring Forces and Low Process Sensitivity

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2 Author(s)
Patel, C.D. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA ; Rebeiz, G.M.

This paper presents an electrostatic RF microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) metal contact switch based on a tethered cantilever topology. The use of tethers results in a design that has low sensitivity to stress gradients, biaxial stresses, and temperature. A switch with a footprint of 160 × 190 μm2 and based on a 8-μm-thick gold cantilever with an Au/Ru contact is implemented on a high-resistivity silicon substrate and results in a total contact force of 0.8-1.2 mN at 80-90 V, a restoring force of 0.5 mN, a pull-in voltage of 61 V, an up-state capacitance of 24 fF, and an actuation time of 6.4 μ s. The device achieves a switch resistance of 2.4±1.4 Ω to 1.8±0.6 Ω at 90-100 V in open laboratory environments (nonpackaged). This design has the potential to replace conventional electromagnetic relays in application areas such as automated testing equipment and high-performance switching networks.

Published in:

Microwave Theory and Techniques, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

May 2011

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