SBIR Phase I: High-Power RF MEMS Switch

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0539240
Agency Tracking Number: 0539240
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 05-557
Small Business Information
NanoMEMS Research, LLC
18 Arese Aisle, Irvine, CA, 92606
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Hector DeLosSantos
 (310) 259-0767
Business Contact
 Hector DeLosSantos
Title: Dr
Phone: (310) 259-0767
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research project aims at demonstrating a novel radio frequency Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (RF MEMS) switch capable of handling high-power RF/microwave signals. Communication systems exploit switches in many ways, such as signal routing and system reconfigurability, thus, it is imperative that switches be noninvasive. This means that the only hint of their presence should be negligible insertion loss in the passing state, and negligible transmission in the blocking state, regardless of the signal power level being processed. While the performance of current RF MEMS switches is almost ideal, this has been mostly demonstrated at relatively low-power signal levels (e.g., sub-Watt), where undesirable effects that ruin their performance, such as self-actuation and heat-induced deformation, which are occasioned by high power signals, are absent. There is a need, therefore, for RF MEMS switches that can maintain the high levels of performance enabled by this technology even when handling high-power signals. The proposed research has three primary objectives: 1) to design a novel high-power RF MEMS switch; 2) to demonstrate its low-cost manufacturability; and 3) to demonstrate its high-power performance. The research will address key technical challenges related to switch architecture to maximize its switching life and power handling capability. The successful outcome of this research will enable new capabilities in high-end systems, such as aerospace and defense systems, wireless infrastructure, and instrumentation. The proposed research program and product development efforts will foster multi-physics computational modeling, materials characterization and investigation of thermal transport mechanisms in thin films. This will promote interdisciplinary research and education among students. Moreover, participation in a commercial product development process will add an additional dimension to their educational experience.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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