Capacitive and ohmic RF MEMS switches are based on micron‐sized structures moving under electrostatic force in a gaseous environment. Recent experimental measurements [4, 5] point to a critical role of gas‐phase effects on the lifetime of RF MEMS switches. In this paper, we analyze rarefied flow effects on the gas‐damping behavior of typical capacitive switches. Several damping models based on Reynolds equation [7, 8] and on Boltzmann kinetic equation [9, 6] are applied to quantify the effects of uncertainties in fabrication and operating conditions on the impact velocity of switch contact surfaces for various switch configurations. Implications of rarefied flow effects in the gas damping for design and analysis of RF MEMS devices are discussed. It has been demonstrated that although all damping models considered predict a similar damping quality factor and agree well for predictions of closing time, the models differ by a factor of two and more in predicting the impact velocity and acceleration at contact. Implications of parameter uncertainties on the key reliability‐related parameters such as the pull‐in voltage, closing time and impact velocity are also discussed.
Date of this Version
Alexeenko, Alina A. and Chigullapalli, Sruti, "Implications of Rarefied Gas Damping for RF MEMS Reliability" (2010). School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Faculty Publications. Paper 50.