Researchers design a more robust MEMS Switch

Researchers design a more robust MEMS Switch

board-540253_960_720In a new development, researchers from Binghamton University have found a way to increase the longevity of cell phones and power lines. The new development is a joint effort of an assistant professor at Binghamton University and a graduate student. The joint effort has led to the development of a new type of microelectromechanical system – commonly known as MEMS switch. The system uses electrostatic levitation to offer a more strong system.

Deviating from traditional cell phones that have two electrode, the new-age cellphones use MEMS switches for wireless communication. While traditional cell phones display capability to open and close numerous times in only one hour, their lifespan is limited by the two-electrode system. After several repetition of two electrodes coming in contact, the surface of the bottom electrode damages. Thereupon, a MEMS switch needs to be discarded and replaced.

New design addresses issues of Predecessor Design

In this scenario, to avoid damage, some researchers have added dimples of landing pads to the electrodes that helps reduce the contact area when the electrodes collide. However, this serves to only delay the eventual breakdown of the material.

The ultimate aim is to create a system that avoids damage completely. Instead of continuing with the older design that has two electrodes model, a leap in design is three electrodes on the bottom and one electrode parallel to others. The right side and left side two bottom electrodes are charged, while the one on the top and middle are grounded.

Typically, MEMS switch with this type of configuration is closed. However, the side electrodes provides thrust to overcome the forces between the two middle electrodes and open the switch