MicroElectroMechanical Systems for Radio Frequency applications (i.e. RF-MEMS) show very good performance and characteristics. However, their employment within large-scale commercial applications is still limited by issues related to the reliability of such components. In this work we present the Finite Element Method (FEM) modelling and preliminary experimental results concerning an active restoring mechanism, embedded within conventional MEMS/RF-MEMS ohmic (and capacitive) relays, capable of retrieving the normal operation of the switch if stiction occurs (i.e. the missed release of an actuated switch when the controlling bias is removed). The mechanism exploits the heat generated by an electric current flowing through an high-resistivity poly-silicon serpentine (Joule effect), to induce deformations in the suspended MEMS structures. Such changes in the mechanical structure result in shear and vertical restoring forces, helping the membrane release. The FEM-based thermo electromechanical simulations discussed in this work include the coupling between different physical domains, starting from the imposed current, to the MEMS deformation. The preliminary experimental data reported in this paper show a speed-up of the dielectric discharge time due to the generated heat, as well as a change in the S-parameters, due to the membrane expansion, compatible with an upward bending of the central contact (i.e. restoring force), useful to counteracting stiction due to micro welding.

Enhancement of RF-MEMS switch reliability through an active anti-stiction heat-based mechanism

Iannacci, Jacopo;Repchankova, Alena;Faes, Alessandro;Dalla Betta, Gian Franco
2010

Abstract

MicroElectroMechanical Systems for Radio Frequency applications (i.e. RF-MEMS) show very good performance and characteristics. However, their employment within large-scale commercial applications is still limited by issues related to the reliability of such components. In this work we present the Finite Element Method (FEM) modelling and preliminary experimental results concerning an active restoring mechanism, embedded within conventional MEMS/RF-MEMS ohmic (and capacitive) relays, capable of retrieving the normal operation of the switch if stiction occurs (i.e. the missed release of an actuated switch when the controlling bias is removed). The mechanism exploits the heat generated by an electric current flowing through an high-resistivity poly-silicon serpentine (Joule effect), to induce deformations in the suspended MEMS structures. Such changes in the mechanical structure result in shear and vertical restoring forces, helping the membrane release. The FEM-based thermo electromechanical simulations discussed in this work include the coupling between different physical domains, starting from the imposed current, to the MEMS deformation. The preliminary experimental data reported in this paper show a speed-up of the dielectric discharge time due to the generated heat, as well as a change in the S-parameters, due to the membrane expansion, compatible with an upward bending of the central contact (i.e. restoring force), useful to counteracting stiction due to micro welding.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11582/11848
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