Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Victor M. Bright, PhD


Many different micro-electro-mechanical switches were designed in the Multi-User MEMS processes (MUMPs) and deep x-ray lithography and electroforming (LIGA) processes. The switches were composed of actuators that operated based upon either electrostatic forces or thermal forces. A thermally activated beam flexure actuator that operated based upon differential heating was used extensively. This actuator, which was fabricated in the MUMPs process, was able to deflect up to 12 microns with a total input power of less than 25 mW. The thermal resistance, which was needed to model this actuator, was determined from a material constant, 1.9 ± 0.08 m1.5-°C-W-1 for the POLYl layer in MUMPs and 7.4 ± 0.88 m1.5-°C-W-1 for the POLY2 layer in MUMPs, which was extracted from 1020 actuator test cases. A switch using a hinge mechanism that allowed metal-to-metal contacts to be formed was also developed in the MUMPs process. The contact resistance of these devices was determined to be 9.91 ± 6.22 kΩ. An electrostatically deformable microbridge structure (2 µm thick, 40 µm wide, 332 µm long, and with a capacitive gap of 2 µm) was also employed as a switch. A voltage of 53.3 volts applied between the microbridge and two drive electrodes was able to force the center of the microbridge to touch a sense electrode. The observed contact resistance for this connection was 300 ± 89.7 Ω.

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