Novel RF MEMS Switch and Packaging Concepts
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Radio-frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF~MEMS) are highly miniaturized devices intended to switch, modulate, filter or tune electrical signals from DC to microwave frequencies. The micromachining techniques used to fabricate these components are based on the standard clean-room manufacturing processes for high-volume integrated semiconductor circuits. RF~MEMS switches are characterized by their high isolation, low insertion loss, large bandwidth and by their unparalleled signal linearity. They are relatively simple to control, are very small and have almost zero power consumption. Despite these benefits, RF~MEMS switches are not yet seen in commercial products because of reliability issues, limits in signal power handling and questions in packaging and integration. Also, the actuation voltages are typically too high for electronics applications and require additional drive circuitry.
This thesis presents a novel MEMS switch concept based on an S-shaped film actuator, which consists of a thin and flexible membrane rolling between a top and a bottom electrode. The special design makes it possible to have high RF isolation due to the large contact distance in the off-state, while maintaining low operation voltages due to the zipper-like movement of the electrostatic dual-actuator. The switch comprises two separately fabricated parts which allows simple integration even with RF circuits incompatible with certain MEMS fabrication processes. The two parts are assembled by chip or wafer bonding which results in an encapsulated, ready-to-dice package. The thesis discusses the concept of the switch and reports on the successful fabrication and evaluation of prototype devices.
Furthermore, this thesis presents research results in wafer-level packaging of (RF) MEMS devices by full-wafer bonding with an adhesive intermediate layer, which is structured before bonding to create defined cavities for housing MEMS devices. This technique has the advantage of simple, robust and low temperature fabrication, and is highly tolerant to surface non-uniformities and particles in the bonding interface. It allows cavities with a height of up to many tens of micrometers to be created directly in the bonding interface. In contrast to conventional wafer-level packaging methods with individual chip-capping, the encapsulation is done using a single wafer-bonding step. The thesis investigates the process parameters for patterned adhesive wafer bonding with benzocyclobutene, describes the fabrication of glass lid packages based on this technique, and introduces a method to create through-wafer electrical interconnections in glass substrates by a two-step etch technique, involving powder-blasting and chemical etching. Also, it discusses a technique of improving the hermetic properties of adhesive bonded structures by additional passivation layers. Finally, it presents a method to substantially improve the bond strength of patterned adhesive bonding by using the solid/liquid phase combination of a patterned polymer layer with a contact-printed thin adhesive film.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2004. , xii, 142 p.
Trita-ILA, ISSN 0281-2878 ; 0401
0-level packaging, adhesive bonding, BCB, benzocyclobutene, bond strength, contact printing, film actuator, glass lid encapsulation, glass lid packaging, helium leak test, hermetic packaging, hermeticity, high isolation switch, low stress silicon nitride, low volt
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3817ISBN: 91-7283-831-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-3817DiVA: diva2:9672
QC 201006172004-08-262004-08-262010-06-18Bibliographically approved
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