Department: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Research Institute Affiliation: California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2)
Faculty Advisor(s): Gabriel Rebeiz
Award(s): Rudee Outstanding Award | Department Best Poster

Primary Student
Name: Chirag Dipak Patel
Email: c2patel@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-822-5940
Grad Year: 2012

This poster presents a novel electrostatic RF 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 160x190 um^2 and based on a 8-um 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 us. The device achieves a switch resistance of 2.4+/-1.4 to 1.8+/-0.6 ohms at 90-100 V in open laboratory environments (unpackaged). This design has the potential serve as a low-cost and high-reliability replacement for conventional electromagnetic relays in application areas such as automated testing equipment, high performance switching networks, medical devices, satellite systems, and defense.

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