Radio Room RF Integrated Switching Matrix Based on Second-Generation RF MEMS

Period of Performance: 02/06/2006 - 08/31/2009

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Microassembly Technologies, Inc.
3065 Richmond ParkwaySuite 109
Richmond, CA 94806
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

Increasingly complex switching tasks in the radio room, as well as reduction of fleet personnel, are driving automation of switch matrices in shipboard use. One approach to this application, RFDACS, has shown reliability problems linked to use of COTS components. In addition, there is a desire to push to higher frequencies for IO uses such as EW and ESM. High-frequency RF switch technology would enable such applications, while leveraging existing (legacy) antennas. Though immature, MEMS-based switches are developing rapidly. MEMS offer dramatic advantages in size, cost, and high-frequency performance, though power handling has been limited to the 1W range. This issue was addressed in Phase I, with the demonstration of an experimental 50W switch. This represents the highest power level of any MEMS switch reported in the literature. Initial results demonstrated a switch cycle life of 3x107, exceeding the target by 30X. In Phase II, MicroAssembly proposes to port the 50W design to a batch manufacturing process and demonstrate a 4x4 switch matrix, suitable for shipboard use. BENEFITS: DoD applications include SATCOM, phased array antenna, and electronic warfare. Commercial applications include switches for handsets and base stations. MEMS offers superior insertion loss, isolation and linearity.