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Proceedings Paper

Understanding and improving longevity in RF MEMS capacitive switches
Author(s): Chuck Goldsmith; David Forehand; Derek Scarbrough; Zheng Peng; Cris Palego; James Hwang; Jason Clevenger
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Paper Abstract

This paper discusses issues relating to the reliability and methods for employing high-cycle life testing in capacitive RF MEMS switches. In order to investigate dielectric charging, transient current spectroscopy is used to characterize and model the ingress and egress of charges within the switch insulating layer providing an efficient, powerful tool to investigate various insulating materials without constructing actual MEMS switches. Additionally, an in-situ monitoring scheme has been developed to observe the dynamic evolution of switch characteristics during life testing. As an alternative to high-cycle life testing, which may require days or weeks of testing, a method for performing accelerated life tests is presented. Various methods for mitigating dielectric charging are presented including: reduced operating voltage, reduced dielectric area, and improved control waveforms. Charging models, accelerated life test results, and high-cycle life test results for state-of-the-art capacitive RF MEMS switches aid in the better understanding of MEMS switch reliability providing direction for improving materials and mechanical designs to increase the operation lifetime of MEMS capacitive switches.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 February 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6884, Reliability, Packaging, Testing, and Characterization of MEMS/MOEMS VII, 688403 (18 February 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.770586
Show Author Affiliations
Chuck Goldsmith, MEMtronics Corp. (United States)
David Forehand, MEMtronics Corp. (United States)
Derek Scarbrough, MEMtronics Corp. (United States)
Zheng Peng, Lehigh Univ. (United States)
Cris Palego, Lehigh Univ. (United States)
James Hwang, Lehigh Univ. (United States)
Jason Clevenger, Exponent (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6884:
Reliability, Packaging, Testing, and Characterization of MEMS/MOEMS VII
Allyson L. Hartzell; Rajeshuni Ramesham, Editor(s)

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