Selecting metal alloy electric contact materials for MEMS switches

  • Jr. C
  • Kladitis P
  • Leedy K
 et al. 
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Abstract

This paper presents a method for selecting metal alloys as the electric contact materials for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) metal contact switches. This procedure consists of reviewing macro-switch lessons learned, utilizing equilibrium binary alloy phase diagrams, obtaining thin film material properties and, based on a suitable model, predicting contact resistance performance. After determining a candidate alloy material, MEMS switches were designed, fabricated and tested to validate the alloy selection methodology. Minimum average contact resistance values of 1.17 and 1.87 Ω were measured for micro-switches with gold (Au) and gold-platinum (Au-(6.3%)Pt) alloy electric contacts, respectively. In addition, 'hot-switched' life cycle test results of 1.02 × 108 and 2.70 × 108 cycles were collected for micro-switches with Au and Au-(6.3%)Pt contacts, respectively. These results indicate increased wear with a small increase in contact resistance for MEMS switches with metal alloy electric contacts

Author-supplied keywords

  • Binary alloys
  • Cantilever beams
  • Elastic moduli
  • Electric potential
  • Electric switches
  • Mathematical models
  • Microelectromechanical devices
  • Oxidation
  • Phase equilibria
  • Thermodynamic properties
  • Thin films
  • microswitches

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Authors

  • Coutu Jr.

  • Paul E Kladitis

  • Kevin D Leedy

  • Robert L Crane

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