Design and Fabrication of a Strain-Powered Microelectromechanical System (MEMS) Switch

Report No. ARL-TR-7095
Authors: Cory R Knick and Christopher J Morris
Date/Pages: September 2014; 34 pages
Abstract: Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches, while having the potential to function under ultra low power constraints, still require onboard power sources. Strain-powered actuators can be triggered with off-board power sources such as laser irradiation. In this report, we discuss the design and fabrication of a microswitch that could eventually be optically triggered to fold using the heat generated from a laser. These switches were fabricated on a silicon wafer using standard microfabrication techniques. We discuss in detail switch design and fabrication process as well as the evolution of design changes implemented to overcome process and design issues. We have taken an initially rather complex, process-intensive design and reduced it to a process requiring only lift-off for patterning. We show that an actuated switch would have a resistance of 40 ohms with 10 mA applied across the contacts.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2014