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Proceedings Paper

Lifetime characteristics of ohmic MEMS switches
Author(s): John Maciel; Sumit Majumder; Richard Morrison; James Lampen
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Paper Abstract

In the future, MEMS switches will be important building blocks for designing phase shifters, smart antennas, cell phones and switched filters for military and commercial markets, to name a few. Low power consumption, large ratio of off-impedance to on-impedance and the ability to be integrated with other electronics makes MEMS switches an attractive alternative to other mechanical and solid-state switches. Radant MEMS has developed an electrostatically actuated broadband ohmic microswitch that has applications from DC through the microwave region. The microswitch is a 3-terminal device based on a cantilever beam and is fabricated using an all-metal, surface micromachining process. It operates in a hermetic environment obtained through a wafer-bonding process. We have developed PC-based test stations to cycle switches and measure lifetime under DC and RF loads. Best-case lifetimes of 1011 cycles have been achieved in T0-8 cans (a precursor to our wafer level cap) while greater than 1010 cycles have been achieved in the wafer level package. Several switches from different lots have been operated to 1010 cycles. Current typical lifetime exceeds 2 billion cycles and is limited by contact stiction resulting in stuck-closed failures. Stuck-closed failures can be intermittent with a large number of switches continuing to operate with occasional sticks beyond several billion cycles. To eliminate contact stiction, we need to better control the ambient gas composition in the die cavity. We expect lifetime to improve as we continue to develop and optimize the wafer capping process. We present DC and RF lifetime data under varying conditions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 December 2003
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 5343, Reliability, Testing, and Characterization of MEMS/MOEMS III, (23 December 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.522759
Show Author Affiliations
John Maciel, Radant MEMS, Inc. (United States)
Sumit Majumder, Radant MEMS, Inc. (United States)
Richard Morrison, Radant MEMS, Inc. (United States)
James Lampen, Radant MEMS, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5343:
Reliability, Testing, and Characterization of MEMS/MOEMS III
Danelle M. Tanner; Rajeshuni Ramesham, Editor(s)

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