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MEMS switch touts 26GHz operation

Posted: 06 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS? switch? TeraVicta? xx? xx?

MEMS switch maker TeraVicta Technologies Inc. is announcing what it claims is the world's fastest MEMS switch.

The 26.5GHz spdt switch measures 3.25-by-4.5-by-1.25mm and is aimed at DTV, satellite communications and phased radar applications. The new MEMS switch is TeraVicta's second product, following its 7GHz MEMS switch introduced last year, which targets ATE and RF wireless applications.

Attractive option
Ray Burgess, CEO of TeraVicta said, "We have virtually zero insertion loss when the 7GHz switch is closedit is virtually just a wirewhich has also made it very attractive when switching between antennas in RF wireless devices."

Before MEMS switches, high-frequency switching was handled by either mechanical or reed relays invented in the 1970s. MEMS technology has made switching more efficient. As a result, TeraVicta now claims to have converted six top ATE makers, nine chipmakers and five of the top eight instrumentation makers to MEMS.

"We've replaced bulky, short-lifetime relays with MEMS chips manufactured with sputtering, etching and plating on ceramic or glass substrates," said Burgess. "We've built our own fab where we manufacture our MEMS switches in a clean-room environment, right down to hermetically sealing the packages."

1M-per-month target
TeraVicta is currently manufacturing about 10,000 parts per month at their Texas fab while qualifying a Hong Kong fab that would be capable of manufacturing 1 million parts per month by the end of 2007.

TeraVicta also has plans to offer both dpdt versions of its MEMS switches along with a single-pole, four-throw device for segmented antenna arrays used in wireless RF applications. The company is also targeting optical backbones and RFID base stations.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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