- R&D 100 Awards
2014 R&D 100 Winner In demand for portable applications because of their light weight and compact size, traditional microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies suffer from a major problem: sticking. This is caused by the charged dielectric, which also suffers from deformation failure and contact welding. A new design engineered by MIT Lincoln Laboratory and implemented in a fabrication setting by Innovative Micro Technology solves these problems by allowing the electrode assembly to “curve”. The heart of the High-Capacitance Radio-Frequency Curled Microelectromechanical Switch (CMEMS) is its three electrodes. The curled electrode is specially designed with a built-in strain and corrugation to make it roll up and down uniformly. It’s joined by two fixed flat electrodes on the substrate: The capacitive electrode is surrounded on three sides by a pull-down electrode. When a voltage is applied between the curled and flat electrodes, the force flattens the curled membrane against the flat electrodes. The movement causes capacitance changes matching the corrugation pattern that provides the radio frequency switching action. This action has been tested to 100 billion cycles in packaged switches. Along with hermetic packaging made possible by a single-crystal cap, CMEMS virtually eliminates problems inherent in other MEMS switches and can, for the first time, eliminate the need for multiple amplifiers in an antenna array.
Technology Microelectromechanical switch
|MIT Lincoln Laboratory's High-Capacitance Radio-Frequency Curled Microelectromechanical Switch (CMEMS) development team. Front row (l-r): Jeremy Muldavin and Carl Bozler. Back row (l-r): Peter Wyatt, Steven Rabe and Craig Keast.|
|Chris Gudeman, Innovative Micro Technology|
The High-Capacitance Radio-Frequency Curled Microelectromechanical Switch (CMEMS) Development Team Carl Bozler, Principal Developer, MIT Lincoln LaboratoryChris Gudeman, Principal Developer, Innovative Micro TechnologyCraig Keast, Principal Developer, MIT Lincoln LaboratoryJeremy Muldavin, Principal Developer, MIT Lincoln LaboratorySteven Rabe, Principal Developer, MIT Lincoln LaboratoryPeter Wyatt, Principal Developer, MIT Lincoln Laboratory