In this paper we present the design, fabrication, and characterization of a MEMS thermal switch. Three switch designs are considered: one in which the conductive material is in the form of liquid-metal micro droplets, one in which the conductive material consists of aligned carbon nanotube arrays, and one in which solid silicon contacts are used. The ratio of thermal resistance in the on and off conditions is used to characterize performance. Based on these measurements the switch incorporating liquid-metal droplets is superior to the other two switches. The liquid-metal switch has a thermal resistance off to on ratio of 168 and can provide heating rates of 905 °C/s.

1.
Miner
A.
,
Majumdar
A.
and
Ghoshal
U.
, “
Thermomechanical refrigeration based on transient thermoelectric effects
,”
Applied Physics Letters
,
75
,
1176
1178
, (
1999
)
2.
Snyder
G. J.
,
Fleurial
J-P.
,
Caillat
T.
,
Yang
R.
and
Chen
G.
, “
Supercooling of Peltier cooler using a current pulse
,”
Journal of Applied Physics
,
92
,
1564
1569
, (
2002
)
3.
Wittwer
C. T.
,
Fillmore
G. C.
and
Garling
D. J.
, “
Minimizing the time required for DNA amplification by efficient heat transfer to small samples
,”
Anal. Biochem.
,
186
,
328
331
, (
1990
)
4.
Whalen
S.
,
Thompson
M.
,
Bahr
D.
,
Richards
C.
and
Richards
R.
, “
Design fabrication and testing of the P3 micro heat engine
Sensors & Actuators: A. Physical
,
104
,
200
208
(
2003
).
5.
J. Cho, T. Wiser, C. Richards, D. Bahr and R. Richards, “Fabrication and Characterization of a Thermal Switch,” Sensors and Actuators, in press.
6.
T. Wiser, “Steady State Heat Transfer Characterization of a Liquid Metal Thermal Switch,” MS Thesis, WSU, 2005.
7.
C. M. McCarter, D.F. Bahr, R.F. Richards, C.D. Richards, D. McClain, and J. Jiao, “Integration of Carbon Nanotubes with MEMS through Standard Photolithographic Techniques, MS&T 2005, Nanomaterials Symposia, Pittsburgh, PA, September, 2005.
8.
Frank P. Incropera and David P. DeWitt, Introduction to Heat Transfer, Fourth Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 104–107, (2002).
This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.