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Vol. 139, No. 4, April 2012, pp. 162-174




Development of MEMS Varactor on Microwave Laminate Board for RF Applications



* Department of Electrical Communication Engineering,

Centre for Electronics Design and Technology

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

E-mail: poonam.goel13@gmail.com



Received: 3 March 2012   /Accepted: 23 April 2012   /Published: 30 April 2012

Digital Sensors and Sensor Sysstems


Abstract: This paper presents the development of an electrostatically actuated MEMS varactor on microwave laminate board for RF MEMS applications using a convenient and economical fabrication approach. MEMS varactor is implemented using multilayer technology in which bottom electrode is patterned on microwave laminate board whereas beam structure and spacer (to create air gap) are realized using thin copper foil. Metal micromachining process is modified to attain straight beams on thin metal foil. A copper foil of 40 um thickness is used to realize beam structure. 15 mm thickness copper foil is micromachined to form spacer. MEMS varactor is characterized for deflection and resonant frequency using Laser Doppler Vibrometer. Measured, analytically modelled and finite element method 3D tool Coventorware simulation pull-in voltages are 171 V, 153 V, 177 V respectively. Measured and FEM simulation pull-in voltage showed good agreement within 3.5 %. Measured and modelled capacitance tuning ratio is within 9.3 % which is acceptable. It is observed that measured resonant frequency is 2.8 kHz whereas modelled is 3.23 kHz which shows close agreement within 13.3 %. The proposed device has found major application in microwave and millimeter systems because microwave laminate board is the most preferred substrate for RF systems.


Keywords: RF MEMS, Varactor, Microwave laminate, Milling, Micromachining, Photochemical



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