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Micro-electromechanical switches for Radio Frequency applications (RFMEMS switches)[1]-[4] are movable micro-systems which pass from an ON to an OFF state by means of the collapse of a metalized beam. They can be actuated in several ways but, generally, the electrostatic actuation is preferred because no current is flowing in the device nor power absorption has to be involved in the process. The bias DC voltage signal is usually separated with respect to the RF signal for application purposes. Anyway, in the simplest mechanical model, a voltage difference V is imposed between the metal bridge, connected to the ground plane of a coplanar waveguide (CPW) structure, and the central conductor of the CPW, which also carries the high frequency signal. Under these circumstances, the switch will experience an electrostatic force which is balanced by its mechanical stiffness, measured in terms of a spring constant k. The balance is theoretically obtained until the bridge is going down approximately (1/3) of its initial height. After that, the bridge is fully actuated, and it needs a value of V less than the initial one to remain in the OFF (actuated) position, because contact forces and induced charging effects help in maintaining it in the down position. A general layout of the switch is diagrammed in Fig. 1a, with its simplified equivalent lumped electrical circuit. In Fig. 1b the cross-section of the device is shown, with the quantities to be used for the definition of the geometry and of the physical properties of the structure. The actuation as well as the de-actuation are affected also by the presence of a medium (typically air, or preferably nitrogen for …
Publication date: 
28 Mar 2012

Romolo Marcelli, Daniele Comastri, Andrea Lucibello, Giorgio De Angelis, Emanuela Proietti, Giancarlo Bartolucci

Biblio References: 
Volume: 10 Pages: 28251
Microelectromechanical systems and devices