Talk on Micro-contacts at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Water Technology Accelerator (WaTA)

The talk was presented on March 20, 2020, where the design, fabrication, and testing of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), metal-contact, micro-switches and the issues associated with performance and reliability were discussed. Specifically, unstable electrical contact resistance reduces micro-switch performance and severely degrades device reliability resulting from degradation in the micro-contact region. Therefore, our research focus is to improve the micro-switch reliability by improving micro-contacts with novel contact materials and engineered micro-contact surfaces. The contact metallurgies considered in this work are thin film combinations of Au and Ruthenium. A typical MEMS switch consists of an upper hemispherical bump and a lower planar contact. A micro-switch with engineered micro-contacts will retain the upper hemisperical contact but will replace the lower planar contacts with 2D pyramidal structure. This work suggests that the combination of engineered lower contacts and composite materials can significantly improve the performance and reliability of micro-switches.