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effects of environmental and operational stresses on rf mems switch technologies for space applicationsMicro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) have been heralded for their ability to provide tremendous advantages in electronic systems through increased electrical performance, reduced power consumption, and higher levels of device integration with a reduction of board real estate. RF MEMS switch technology offers advantages such as low insertion loss (0.1- 0.5 dB), wide bandwidth (1 GHz-100 GHz), and compatibility with many different process technologies (quartz, high resistivity Si, GaAs) which can replace the use of traditional electronic switches, such as GaAs FETS and PIN Diodes, in microwave systems for low signal power (x < 500 mW) applications. Although the electrical characteristics of RF MEMS switches far surpass any existing technologies, the unknown reliability, due to the lack of information concerning failure modes and mechanisms inherent to MEMS devices, create an obstacle to insertion of MEMS technology into high reliability applications. All MEMS devices are sensitive to moisture and contaminants, issues easily resolved by hermetic or near-hermetic packaging. Two well-known failure modes of RF MEMS switches are charging in the dielectric layer of capacitive membrane switches and contact interface stiction of metal-metal switches. Determining the integrity of MEMS devices when subjected to the shock, vibration, temperature extremes, and radiation of the space environment is necessary to facilitate integration into space systems. This paper will explore the effects of different environmental stresses, operational life cycling, temperature, mechanical shock, and vibration on the first commercially available RF MEMS switches to identify relevant failure modes and mechanisms inherent to these device and packaging schemes for space applications. This paper will also describe RF MEMS Switch technology under development at NASA GSFC.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Jah, Muzar
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Simon, Eric
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Sharma, Ashok
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2003
Subject Category
Electronics and Electrical Engineering
Meeting Information
IMAPS Conference(Boston, MA)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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