PRISM at Discovery Park

"Gas Electrostatic Discharge in Capacitive RF-MEMS and it's Role in Degradation and Failure"

April 9 @ 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM - Birck Nanotechnology Center, Room 1001

Abstract: Broad evidence for a unified mechanism of slow degradation and catastrophic failure of capacitive RF-MEMS switches is examined.  The experimental results reported by various groups from parametric studies of effects of pressure, temperature, gas composition, metallic material, hold-down bias and others suggest that gas discharges at voltages significantly lower than the classical DC Paschen breakdown affect reliability under a wide range of conditions. Analysis of dynamics of a MEMS switch with a measured lifetime shows that the breakdown may be accelerated by injection of metallic and solid dielectric material in the gas gap due to repeated low-current discharges during contacting events. Strategies for avoiding this failure mechanism and achieving highly reliable capacitive switching for high-power applications are discussed.

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