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RF MEMS Hybrid Package Testing
Keywords: Microwave, MEMS, Reliability
This paper presents a combination of modern microelectronic assembly techniques, materials, and architectures as applied to the hermetic packaging of RF MEMS devices. The hybrid package architecture provides for high operational reliability and environmental ruggedness while enabling RF performance in the DC-12 GHz range at reasonable cost and yield. The package is in the apparent form of a RoHS-compliant leadless chip-scale package (LCSP) with solder pads on the underside for RF and DC control I/O. RF inputs are configured in a way that transitions board-level microstrip lines into coplanar waveguides inside the package body, so that the inherent high isolation, high linearity, and low cross-talk of the integrated RF MEMS switching circuit is preserved. RF and electromechanical performance is seen to be “typical for RF MEMS,” meaning it is exemplary when compared to semiconductor devices of the wider component industry. The operational reliability of Ohmic-contact MEMS-based switches and relays has been shown to be critically tied to cleanliness throughout the packaging process, stability of material species exposed to the package interior, and to the continued hermeticity of the package seal to a variety of contaminant species throughout operational lifetime. The presented devices have been thoroughly tested to the standards of the test equipment and Defense electronics industries, including operation under ultra-low-load, high-load, extended hold, extended rest, temperature, shock, humidity, and other challenging environmental and operational conditions. The results of these tests are presented, sharing successes and failures with analysis and discussion. New components incorporating these exciting technologies continue to be driven by specific application requirements. In the conclusions of this paper, several areas of ongoing scientific and engineering research and development are presented, describing key weaknesses and solutions underway.
Daniel Hyman, Ph.D., President and CTO
XCOM Wireless, Inc.
Signal Hill, CA


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