Electrostatic Radio Frequency (RF) Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) Switches With Metal Alloy Electric Contacts
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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RF MEMS switches are paramount in importance for improving current and enabling future USAF RF systems. Electrostatic micro-switches are ideal for RF applications because of their superior performance and low power consumption. The primary failure mechanisms for micro-switches with gold contacts are becoming stuck closed and increased contact resistance with increasing switch cycles. This dissertation reports on the design, fabrication, and testing of micro-switches with sputtered bi-metallic i.e., gold Au-on-Au-6.3atplatinum Pt, binary alloy i.e., Au-3.7atpalladium Pd and Au-6.3atPt, and ternary alloy i.e., Au-5atPt-0.5atcopper Cu contact metals. Performance was evaluated, in-part, using measured contact resistance and lifetime results. The micro-switches with bi-metallic and binary alloy contacts exhibited contact resistance between 1 - 2 ohms and, when compared to micro-switches with sputtered gold contacts, showed an increase in lifetime. The micro-switches with tertiary alloy contacts showed contact resistance between 0.2-1.8 and also showed increased lifetime. Overall, the results presented in this dissertation indicate that micro-switches with gold alloy electric contacts exhibit increased lifetimes in exchange for a small increase in contact resistance.
- Electrical and Electronic Equipment