Nanoscale Electromechanical Switches

Applications

This nano-scale electromechanical switch can be used to replace CMOS based devices in:

  • electronic products
  • medical devices
  • sensors
  • actuators
  • microphones

Problem Addressed

Nano-scale electromechanical (NEM) switches have emerged as a promising alternative to CMOS switching transistor technology. These switches exhibit large on-off current ratio, near-zero off state leakage current, and power efficient operation. However, the required actuation voltage for the current NEM switches is large. Moreover, these switches have low operational reliability due to the effect of static friction that results in frequent irreversible adhesion between the switch terminals.

Technology

This technology eliminates the effect of the static friction on the NEM switch by incorporating a non-conducting deformable spring-like molecular layer between the switch terminals, thus increasing reliability. The stiffness of the layer is engineered to lower the required actuation voltage appropriate for CMOS applications. Instead of using direct contact between the switch terminals as the mechanism for the current conduction, the invention uses tunneling currents that enables six orders of magnitude difference between the on and off state current of the switch. The switch is projected to be reliable and easily fabricated in a variety of structural shapes and orientation based on  the necessity of the end application.

Advantages

  • Small footprint
  • Low power
  • Low leakage current
  • Projected high reliability
  • Projected easy manufacturability
  • Transconductance superior to the semiconductor transistors
  • Switching time in order of few nano-seconds (e.g. 11 ns)