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Characterization of dielectric charging in RF MEMS capacitive switches

Abstract

RF MEMS capacitive switches show great promise for use in wireless communication devices such as mobile phones, but the successful application of these switches is hindered by reliability concerns: charge injection in the dielectric layer (SiN) can cause irreversible stiction of the moving part of the switch. We present a new way to characterize charge injection. By stressing the dielectric with electric fields on the order of 1 MV/cm, we inject charge in the dielectric, and use a new method to measure the effects it has on the C-V curve. Instead of measuring the change in the pull-in voltage, this method measures the change in the voltage at which the capacitance is minimal. This way, no extra charge is injected during the measurement of the amount of injected charge, which reduces the effect it has on the tested switches, so that the effect of the intentionally induced stress voltage is not obscured by the measurement method

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