Special Issue "Microswitching Technologies"

A special issue of Technologies (ISSN 2227-7080).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Ronald A. Coutu, Jr.

Professor of Electrical Engineering and V. Clayton Lafferty Endowed Chair, Opus College of Engineering, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53233, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: microelectromechanical systems (MEMS); smart sensors; device fabrication; micro-electrical contacts; phase change materials; energy harvesting; renewable energy; micro-grids; energy storage

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microswitching technology includes areas like radio frequency (RF) microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches for high frequency applications, MEMS switches for direct current (DC) or dry switching applications, and new and emerging technologies relative to the micro electrical contact areas including: advanced modeling, promising new contact materials, and novel micro contact geometries. In addition, novel solid state switching topologies and materials including phase change materials and metal-insulator transition materials are being investigated as for applications requiring highly reliable microswitching devices. This Special Issue is intended to report on the recent advances in the multidisciplinary field of microswitching technologies and also address critical technology gaps that are currently limiting microswitch presence in the market place.

Prof. Dr. Ronald A. Coutu
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Technologies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  •     RF MEMS
  •     MEMS
  •     microswitch
  •     micro-contacts
  •     contact materials
  •     contact geometry
  •     phase change materials

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle In-Situ Contact Surface Characterization in a MEMS Ohmic Switch under Low Current Switching
Technologies 2018, 6(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies6020047
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
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Abstract
To develop robust microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switching technology for low voltage direct current (DC) applications (1–12 V) there is a requirement for the investigation of wear caused by hot switching (contact operated while carrying a current load). Previous investigation of contact wear in
[...] Read more.
To develop robust microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switching technology for low voltage direct current (DC) applications (1–12 V) there is a requirement for the investigation of wear caused by hot switching (contact operated while carrying a current load). Previous investigation of contact wear in the ohmic MEMS switch has been limited to either the completion of the contact switching cycles, where the device is destructively opened, or by low switching rates, making lifetime testing impractical. A novel MEMS testing platform is described that is capable of both resolving microscale changes on the contact surface between switching events and sustained high frequency switch cycling, enabling practical lifetime testing. The platform is used to investigate early surface changes in a thin-film Au contact pair on a cycle-by-cycle basis. The contact is closed at forces representative of a practical MEMS contact (<1 mN). The apparatus reveals the microscopic surface change between individual switching events. Hot switched contact wear is dominated by the molten metal bridge (MMB) phenomenon, linked to a characteristic voltage transient at contact opening and the gradual process of contact material transfer; however, during hot switching delamination phenomena are also observed, and associated with a step change in contact voltage and a greater level of surface damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microswitching Technologies)
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Open AccessArticle Experimental Validation of External Load Effects for Micro-Contacts under Low Frequency, Low Amplitude Alternating Current (AC) Test Conditions
Technologies 2018, 6(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies6020046
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
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Abstract
The use of micro-contacts has been demonstrated in various radio frequency (RF) applications. However, the premature failure of such devices under alternating current (AC) operations is still a hurdle to further development. In this work, modified gray scale lithography is performed to fabricate
[...] Read more.
The use of micro-contacts has been demonstrated in various radio frequency (RF) applications. However, the premature failure of such devices under alternating current (AC) operations is still a hurdle to further development. In this work, modified gray scale lithography is performed to fabricate two types of gold–gold (Au–Au) micro-contacts: hemispherical-planar and hemispherical-2D pyramid. The performance of these devices was investigated under low frequency, low amplitude AC conditions with external circuit loads. A custom-made experimental setup which uses various load configurations, controls the frequency of the applied voltage and modifies the cycle rate of switch operation to obtain the contact resistance as a function of number of cycles (up to 107 cycles). Nearly 87% of the tested devices (13 out of 15 hemispherical-planar micro-contacts) were found to be in good operational condition and passed the 10 million cycle mark successfully. A steady gain and large swing in the value of contact resistance was also observed near the end of all, but one, tests. Such changes in contact resistance were found to be permanent as none of the devices recovered completely. On the other hand, the hemispherical-2D pyramid micro-contact performed better than the planar one as it also passed 107 cycle mark with low and remarkably stable contact resistance throughout the testing span. This study suggests that micro-contacts with ‘engineered’ surface structures with external loads applied are a viable solution to premature failure and high contact resistance in micro-contacts under low frequency AC operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microswitching Technologies)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Performance Comparison of Phase Change Materials and Metal-Insulator Transition Materials for Direct Current and Radio Frequency Switching Applications
Technologies 2018, 6(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies6020048
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
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Abstract
Advanced understanding of the physics makes phase change materials (PCM) and metal-insulator transition (MIT) materials great candidates for direct current (DC) and radio frequency (RF) switching applications. In the literature, germanium telluride (GeTe), a PCM, and vanadium dioxide (VO2), an MIT
[...] Read more.
Advanced understanding of the physics makes phase change materials (PCM) and metal-insulator transition (MIT) materials great candidates for direct current (DC) and radio frequency (RF) switching applications. In the literature, germanium telluride (GeTe), a PCM, and vanadium dioxide (VO2), an MIT material have been widely investigated for DC and RF switching applications due to their remarkable contrast in their OFF/ON state resistivity values. In this review, innovations in design, fabrication, and characterization associated with these PCM and MIT material-based RF switches, have been highlighted and critically reviewed from the early stage to the most recent works. We initially report on the growth of PCM and MIT materials and then discuss their DC characteristics. Afterwards, novel design approaches and notable fabrication processes; utilized to improve switching performance; are discussed and reviewed. Finally, a brief vis-á-vis comparison of resistivity, insertion loss, isolation loss, power consumption, RF power handling capability, switching speed, and reliability is provided to compare their performance to radio frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS) switches; which helps to demonstrate the current state-of-the-art, as well as insight into their potential in future applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microswitching Technologies)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

 

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