Previous models and measurements of MEMs adhesion have focused on steady-state adhesion behavior. This approach is inadequate for micromachined switches (such as RF MEMS switches) because it gives no information about the time required for contact opening, an important specification. We propose a technique to measure the switch opening time and present substantial experimental data for switches with gold-gold contacts. The data demonstrate that contact opening time increases dramatically as contact dimple area increases or as pull-apart force or contact resistance decrease. A model of opening time is also presented with model parameters that fit the experimental data.

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