Reliability design of RF-MEMS switches
for space applications (REDEMS)
Project description
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca

National Institute for Research and Development in Microtechnology, IMT Bucharest
The mechanical and tribological properties of MEMS materials have aroused high interest in the last recent years, since they very often differ from the macroscopic value to the micro/nano scale. These properties are influenced by operating conditions. However the main scope of the project is the accuracy characterization in different operating conditions (different temperature, high vacuum) of the mechanical and tribological properties of MEMS materials and their correlation with MEMS switch structures considering a multiphysics coupling in order to design an reliable MEMS switch for space applications with high lifetime.
What is important and considered as a necesity of project development is that,  in orbit no maintenance of MEMS is possible. As a consequence, the accelerated testing on MEMS in different operating conditions are needed to guarantee the device’s long term reliability. In a MEMS switches, where communication lines are intertwined, failure of a single component (transmission line, pull-down electrode, mechanical structure or the loss of the hermeticity of packaging) can result in the loss of communication felt by hundreds of users (for examples, satellites for tellecomunications and televisions). In such a context, this project aims to improve the efficiency of the MEMS switches from space applications, starting from designing and manufacturing processes and considering the mechanical failure cause roots in such a way that a range of the MEMS properties and failures modes can be predicted from the design and fabrication stages of products based on extensive tests performed in different environmental conditions. Nanotribological investigations include adhesion, friction and wear measurements of MEMS switch materials for different space operating conditions.
Based on the factors with influences on lifetime of MEMS switches, collaborative activities between physicists, mechanical engineering, materials engineering and manufacturers are needed and considered in the project development. To develop the project tasks, a consortium between Technical University of Cluj-Napoca and National Institute for Research and Development in Microtechnology IMT-Bucharest is build-up.
Agentia Spatiala Româna
Space Technology and Advanced Research - Programme for Research, Development and Innovation - STAR