At large separations, the behaviour of electrodes has been widely studied and is reasonably well understood. However, some
fundamental problems have not been properly addressed such as maximum safe operating voltages and critical dimensions required
at small separations between different types of materials. A systematic study of electrical breakdown at sub-millimetre separations
using materials commonly used in the fabrication of microdevices has been undertaken. Specimens for examination at electrode
separations from 500 nm to 25 μm have been made with different electrode configurations, such as flat to flat, flat to point
and point to point. All the tests were made in air and at differing pressures.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel SON (silicon-on-nothing)-LDMOS (laterally diffused MOS) with heavily doped buried layer (HDBL) beneath air layer is proposed for RF base-station power amplifier application. The characteristics of the proposed device are analyzed in terms of breakdown voltage, kink effect, and high frequency performance. With the device and circuit simulator Atlas, two-dimensional simulations are presented to investigate the vertical and lateral breakdown voltages and parasitic capacitance characteristics of the proposed device. The simulation results show that high breakdown voltage and low parasitic output capacitance can be attained. The breakdown voltage of the proposed device is four times that of the conventional SOI (silicon-on-insulator) device. In addition, the kink effect and self-heating effect is suppressed dramatically. Our proposed device is fully compatible with commercial SON process, without complex field plate process. It can be used in the future design of high voltage RF power amplifiers.
Circuits and Systems for Communications, 2008. ICCSC 2008. 4th IEEE International Conference on; 06/2008
"The typical width of the wedge used in the prototype device is 250 µm, and the dimension of the air gap between the contacts varies between 20 to 50 µm. Previously reported breakdown voltage for a 5-µm metal-air-metal gap is 360 V , ; hence, the gap size used in our design is more than adequate for the voltages being switched. Fig. 3 shows the cross-sectional view of the bidirectional relay. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microrelays with liquid metal wetted contacts have been demonstrated using bidirectional electrothermal electromagnetic actuators. These relays were fabricated with the Metal MUMPs foundry process, which has a 20-mum-thick nickel structural layer. The operating voltage is under 0.5 V. The measured breakdown voltage and off-state resistance are greater than 200 V and 100 MOmega, respectively, and the gold-to-gold contact resistance is around 0.3 Omega. When the contacts are wetted with liquid gallium alloy (melting point at -20degC), the measured contact resistance can be as low as 0.015 Omega. As such, these bidirectional relays could have potential applications in high-power switching systems with low contact resistance using liquid metal wetted contacts.
Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems 07/2007; 16(3-16):700 - 708. DOI:10.1109/JMEMS.2007.893520 · 1.75 Impact Factor
"Shea et al.  illustrated that the modified Paschen curve was a good guide for choosing a safe operating range when scaling MEMS electrodes to gaps lower than 5μm. However, it has been reported that the Paschen curve is not valid when the air gap between electrodes is less than 4μm, where the breakdown voltage at this range is significantly less than that predicted by the Paschen curve [78, 79]. The rapid fall-off breakdown voltage with the gap is associated with the presence of high electric fields ranging from 5×107V / m at d = 0.25μm to 108V / m at d = 4μm. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electrostatic micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) is a special branch with a wide range of applications in sensing and actuating devices in MEMS. This paper provides a survey and analysis of the electrostatic force of importance in MEMS, its physical model, scaling effect, stability, nonlinearity and reliability in detail. It is necessary to understand the effects of electrostatic forces in MEMS and then many phenomena of practical importance, such as pull-in instability and the effects of effective stiffness, dielectric charging, stress gradient, temperature on the pull-in voltage, nonlinear dynamic effects and reliability due to electrostatic forces occurred in MEMS can be explained scientifically, and consequently the great potential of MEMS technology could be explored effectively and utilized optimally. A simplified parallel-plate capacitor model is proposed to investigate the resonance response, inherent nonlinearity, stiffness softened effect and coupled nonlinear effect of the typical electrostatically actuated MEMS devices. Many failure modes and mechanisms and various methods and techniques, including materials selection, reasonable design and extending the controllable travel range used to analyze and reduce the failures are discussed in the electrostatically actuated MEMS devices. Numerical simulations and discussions indicate that the effects of instability, nonlinear characteristics and reliability subjected to electrostatic forces cannot be ignored and are in need of further investigation.
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