PORTLAND, Ore. Electronic switching of high-frequency signals currently must be handled by either mechanical switches or reed relays. Now, MEMS switches can do the same job in a smaller package, according to Omron Corp.
Omron (Shiga, Japan) fabricates its RF MEMS switch using three wafers bonded together before dicing. The bottom wafer contains the electronic input and output traces and the fixed electrodes, the middle has the movable, metallic switch attached to movable electrodes and the top wafer caps the stack in glass to prevent contamination.
Omron produces the MEMS RF switches at its R&D plant in Keihanna, which as a capacity of 10,000 per month. It plans to begin volume production at its 8-inch CMOS fab in Yasu starting next year, boosting capacity ten-fold. Omron currently claims over 20 customers sampling its 10-GHz MEMS switch, and said it plans to announce design wins in 2009.
"Many of the companies sampling our MEMS RF switch are [automated test equipment] makers," said Yoshio Sekiguchi, an Omron general manager. "Our RF MEMS switch can also be used in digital tuners to switch HDTV sources, in digital attenuators, filters and switching power amplifiers."
Omron's MEMS switch combines two single-pole, single-throw switches in the same package, but Omron has plans to offer double-pole, double-throw models and 20-GHz versions later in 2009. The MEMS RF switch has less than one ohm contact resistance and is rated at over 100 million switches before failure.