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RF MEMS switches can operate digital signals

Posted: 10 Nov 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF MEMS? switch? digital signal?

Electronic switching of high-frequency signals currently must be handled by either mechanical switches or reed relays. Now, Omron Corp. said MEMS switches can do similar job in a smaller package.

The company fabricates its RF MEMS switch employing three wafers bonded together before dicing. The bottom wafer has the electronic I/O traces and the fixed electrodes, the middle has the movable, metallic switch connected to movable electrodes and the top wafer caps the stack in glass to avoid contamination.

Omron develops the switches at its R&D plant in Keihanna, Japan, which has a capacity of 10,000 per month. It seeks to start volume production at its 8-inch CMOS fab in Yasu by next year, increasing capacity 10-fold. It currently claims over 20 customers sampling its 10GHz MEMS switch, and added it plans to launch design wins in 2009.

"Many of the companies sampling our MEMS RF switch are ATE makers," said Yoshio Sekiguchi, general manager, Omron. "Our RF MEMS switch also fit digital tuners to switch HDTV sources in digital attenuators, filters and switching power amplifiers," he added.

The company's MEMS switch integrates two single-pole, single-throw switches in the same package, but Omron will be providing double-pole, double-throw models and 20GHz versions later in 2009. The MEMS RF switch has less than 1? contact resistance and is rated at over 100 million switches before failure.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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