Date of Award
Master of Science
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Ronald A. Coutu, Jr., PhD.
Engineers have attempted to improve reliability and lifecycle performance using novel micro-contact metals, unique mechanical designs and packaging. Contact resistance can evolve over the lifetime of the micro-switch by increasing until failure. This work shows the fabrication of micro-contact support structures and test fixture which allow for micro-contact testing, with an emphasis on the fixture's design to allow the determination and analysis of the appropriate failure mode. The other effort of this investigation is the development of a micro-contact test fixture which can measure contact force and resistance directly and perform initial micro-contact characterization, and two forms of lifecycle testing for micro-contacts at rates up to 3kHz. In this work, two different designs of micro-contact structures are fabricated and tested, with each providing advantages for studying micro-contact physics. After fabrication was refined, three functioning fixed-fixed Au micro-contact support structures with contact radii of 4, 6, and 10 µm and two functioning fixed-fixed Ag micro-contacts were tested using the µN force sensor at cycle rates up to 3 kHz. Comparing the PolyMUMPs micro-contact support structure to the fixed-fixed micro-contact support structure, it was determined that the fixed-fixed micro-contact support structure is the best structure for studying the evolution of micro-contact resistance.
DTIC Accession Number
Toler, Benjamin F., "Novel Test Fixture for Characterizing Microcontacts: Performance and Reliability" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 908.