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RF MEMS basics

This page describes RF MEMS basics with applications and RF MEMS switch manufacturers.

MEMS are IC devices which will have both electrical as well as mechanical components. It is the short form of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems.

RF MEMS are such systems which interact with RF signal. This has helped the community to obtain small size, low cost and better performance(low insertion loss, high Q, very low current consumption) based systems. These circuits can be developed from frequency range of few MHz to millimeter wave.

MEMS devices are fabricated with the help of typical IC batch processing methods with sizes ranging from nm(nanometers) to mm(millimeters).

There are three micro-machining processes which are used in fabrication of RF MEMS devices. The processes are bulk(wet and DRIE), surface and LIGA. The fabrication of most of the devices is done with surface & bulk processes.

Various devices, components and systems are developed based on this concept. These include Switches, variable capacitors, phase shifters, resonators, oscillators, tunable filters, antennas, reconfigurable matching elements and transmission lines.

RF MEMS Switch Manufacturers

RF MEMS Switch

The figure depicts electro-mechanical model of RF MEMS switch. This switch operates based on applied voltage. Based on change in applied voltage gap height will vary. This is classic example of air filled capacitor with two plates. In the figure, both plate is fixed one and upper one is movable.

Following is the list of popular RF MEMS Switch manufacturers:
• Texas Instruments(TI)
• NEDITEK, China
• Memtronics
• Radant MEMS
• Teledyne DALSA
• DelfMEMS,France
• OMRON Corporation

As mentioned above, DelfMEMS is leading manufacturer of RF MEMS Switches. These switches can be used for various wireless standards such as WiFi, 2G, 3G, 4G(LTE), LTE-Advanced and so on.

Following are the typical specifications of SPST RF MEMS Switch:
• Frequency range of operation
• Low insertion Loss
• High Isolation
• Better return loss
• less switching time

RF MEMS switches are widely used in RF test and measurement, Automated Test Equipments(ATEs), radar beam steering of antennas, multi-throw switching in RF and Microwave, telecommunications and broadband wireless access systems etc.

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