Sensors 2013, 13(12), 16360-16371; doi:10.3390/s131216360
Article

Instability of Contact Resistance in MEMS and NEMS DC Switches under Low Force: the Role of Alien Films on the Contact Surface

1email, 1,* email and 2email
Received: 30 September 2013; in revised form: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 22 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling, Testing and Reliability Issues in MEMS Engineering 2013)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: The metal contact is one of the most crucial parts in ohmic-contact microelectromechanical (MEMS) switches, as it determines the device performance and reliability. It has been observed that there is contact instability when the contact force is below a threshold value (minimum contact force). However, there has been very limited knowledge so far about the unstable electrical contact behavior under low contact force. In this work, the instability of Au-Au micro/nano-contact behavior during the initial stage of contact formation is comprehensively investigated for the first time. It has been found that the alien film on the contact surface plays a critical role in determining the contact behavior at the initial contact stage under low contact force. A strong correlation between contact resistance fluctuation at the initial contact stage and the presence of a hydrocarbon alien film on the contact surface is revealed. The enhancement of contact instability due to the alien film can be explained within a framework of trap-assisted tunneling.
Keywords: MEMS; NEMS; contact instability; alien film; XPS; trap-assisted tunneling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Qiu, H.; Wang, H.; Ke, F. Instability of Contact Resistance in MEMS and NEMS DC Switches under Low Force: the Role of Alien Films on the Contact Surface. Sensors 2013, 13, 16360-16371.

AMA Style

Qiu H, Wang H, Ke F. Instability of Contact Resistance in MEMS and NEMS DC Switches under Low Force: the Role of Alien Films on the Contact Surface. Sensors. 2013; 13(12):16360-16371.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Qiu, Haodong; Wang, Hong; Ke, Feixiang. 2013. "Instability of Contact Resistance in MEMS and NEMS DC Switches under Low Force: the Role of Alien Films on the Contact Surface." Sensors 13, no. 12: 16360-16371.

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