MEMS-based RF switch delivers over 10X performance gain

March 06, 2017 // By Julien Happich
Only a few months after it was spun-out from GE, MEMS startup Menlo Micro has now qualified its wafer-level Digital-Micro-Switch (DMS) technology platform for production.

The company manufactures micro-mechanical switches for both power and RF applications and has demonstrated an industry leading R onCoff performance below 50fs. Within the next 12-18 months, Menlo Micro expects to sample devices at 10fs, a 10x improvement compared to traditional switches.

In addition to the key figure-of-merit R onCoff, Menlo has demonstrated linearity above +90dBm, which is 15 to 20dB better than what is traditionally considered best-in-class performance. Switches that the company now has in development will have insertion loss below 0.3dB at 12GHz and cover bandwidths from DC to 18GHz, with the ability to extend up to even higher frequencies, including mmWave.

Using proprietary materials, designs, and wafer-level processing techniques licensed exclusively from General Electric, Menlo’s DMS technology has proven reliability and can not only handle kW of power but also be scaled down in size and cost to make it cost-competitive with silicon-on-insulator (SOI).

The switches are made from proprietary metal alloys, plated onto glass wafers with through glass vias (TGV) from supplier and investor Corning Incorporated. Menlo and Corning are working together to establish a supply chain for high-performance semiconductor glass wafers with TGV technology, and scale-up of the manufacturing processes. Menlo is actively engaged with a number of technology partners to license the DMS technology into the consumer mobile handset market.

Visit Menlo Micro at www.menlomicro.com

Visit Corning at www.corning.com

Related article:

GE spins out MEMS startup: wants cheaper power switches