The Development and Modeling of a Simulated Test Structure for Rapidly Testing Microelectromechanical Switch Contacts

Open Access
Domask, Anna Catherine
Graduate Program:
Materials Science and Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 13, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Suzanne E Mohney, Thesis Advisor
  • Christopher Muhlstein, Thesis Advisor
  • MEMS
  • Switch
  • Modeling
  • Materials
  • Contacts
  • Testing
  • FEA
  • bending
Microelectromechanical (MEM) radiofrequency (RF) ohmic contact switches have many advantages over traditional solid state devices: increased isolation and decreased power consumption being the most pertinent. Unfortunately, they are less reliable and have shorter lifetimes. This thesis proposes an alternative to the fabrication of completed MEM switches for the testing of new materials systems, whereby microfabrication is used to make micromembers which are then mechanically forced into contact with a planar substrate. This mimicked test structure has similar mechanical response to an actual device, but can be inspected for degradation throughout testing and is less complicated to design and build. Finally, this thesis looked at the stiffness of a wide range of member geometries using finite element analysis (FEA) to better understand their mechanical response. Through this work, subsequent FEA was suprisingly found to be unnecessary for some cantilever members, and a subset of the fabricated geometries was identified that were useful for testing.