Intelligent Sense and Control of RF MEMS Switching Technology

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

MEMtronics Corporation
1301 N. Plano Road
Richardson, TX 75081
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

The proposed effort utilizes CMOS control electronics to"sense and control"the operation of MEMS switches as a solution to overcome the existing limitations of"set and forget"MEMS operation. These efforts build upon several successful prior demonstrations of MEMS-CMOS integration and CMOS control of MEMS switches by MEMtronics and Lehigh. The incorporation of high-speed electronics with MEMS switches enables the improvement of many aspects of MEMS operation - from mitigating dielectric charging to compensating operating voltages over temperature, to achieving very accurate MEMS capacitance values, to allowing analog functionality. However, the benefits of adaptive control go well beyond these"static"improvements that are possible with CMOS control. There are a host of interesting techniques that can be utilized to implement"dynamic"adaptive control of MEMS by CMOS. The speed and functionality of CMOS offers new and exciting possibilities for on-the-fly management of MEMS operation - soft landing control to prevent contact wear, electrostatic damping to prevent bounce, or compensation for high power RF signals that may distort switch electromechanics. Dynamic control of MEMS devices is new territory that enables adaptive control and augmentation of performance to overcome the remaining drawbacks to RF MEMS technology.