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Electro-Thermal MEMS Switch With Latching Mechanism: Design and Characterization

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2 Author(s)
Jay Jamshid Khazaai ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Oakland University, Rochester, MI, USA ; Hongwei Qu

This paper presents the design, fabrication, and characterization of a proprietary metallic microelectromechanical systems switch with unique latching and switching mechanisms that are driven electro-thermally by a set of V-shaped actuators (VSA) and modified Guckel U-shaped actuators. These distinctive actuators are specifically designed and uniquely integrated to provide desired large in-plane traveling distance and force for the switch contact and latching mechanisms. Due to the structural symmetry of the VSA, the out-of-plane displacements are minimized in the entire system. The latching mechanism reduces the total power consumption of the switch while providing a large mechanical contact force for a reliable switching function. This switch with latching capability only consumes power at the time of changing states. MetalMUMPs is employed to fabricate the device, in which electroplated nickel is used as the structural material. Using the metallic structure allows a low operating voltage. At 1.0 V with an electrical power of ~ 0.67 W, each nickel 4-arm VSA generates ~ 13.5-μm displacement and ~ 8-mN force.

Published in:

IEEE Sensors Journal  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 9 )