ISSN 1063-7397, Russian Microelectronics, 2016, Vol. 45, No. 7, pp. 516–521. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2016.
Original Russian Text © P.P. Mal’tsev, M.V. Maitama, A.Yu. Pavlov, N.V. Shchavruk, 2014, published in Izvestiya Vysshikh Uchebnykh Zavedenii, Elektronika, 2014, Vol. 20,
No. 5, pp. 81–87.
Narrowband Microwave Microelectromechanical Switch
on Gallium Arsenide Substrates for Operation
in a Frequency Band of 10–12 GHz
P. P. Mal’tsev, M. V. Maitama, A. Yu. Pavlov, and N. V. Shchavruk*
Institute of Microwave Semiconductor Electronics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 117105 Moscow
Received April 10, 2014
Abstract—Discrete electrostatic microwave microelectromechanical switches on gallium arsenide wafers are
designed and fabricated. The possibility of integrating the switches in one circuit with monolithic integrated
circuits of transreceiving devices fabricated in one production cycle is estimated.
Keywords: microelectromechanical system (MEMS), microwave switch, MEMS switch calculation, gallium
The increasingly strict demands for reducing the
dimensions and mass of microwave devices, broaden-
ing their dynamic range, lowering the working power
and cost, and improving their integration and perfor-
mance in increasing operating frequencies require
experienced designers and techniques for forming
integrated circuits (ICs) on GaAs, GaN, and silicon.
One of the problems of microwave devices is the devel-
opment of signal switches meeting the modern
The aim of this study was to develop and fabricate
microwave switches operating at frequencies of 10–
12 GHz and combining the best performances of the
electromechanical and solid-state (discrete semicon-
ductor-based) switches, including the possibility of
switching the high power characteristic of the electro-
mechanical switches and high operation speed and low
intrinsic energy consumption, in combination with
the small dimensions typical of the solid-state switches
based on discrete electronic devices.
MAIN TYPES OF MICROWAVE SWITCHES
The three types of microwave switches widely used
at present are electromechanical, solid-state (semi-
conductor), and microelectromechanical (MEMS).
The electromechanical switches have the highest
switching power among all the switch types, which
attains several kilowatts at a frequency of 1 GHz ,
an intrinsic loss of 0.1–0.3 dB, and a microwave signal
isolation of 60–80 dB. However, the electromechani-
cal switches have a high working power (up to 10 W),
long switching time (10–20 ms), and a relatively short
lifetime (about a million cycles) [1, 2].
MEMS switches exhibit a number of advantages
over the solid-state microwave switches , specifi-
cally, a high loss ratio between the on and off states and
almost zero power consumption in the off state. How-
ever, their operation speed is lower than that of the
semiconductor switches and they require forming a
control switching voltage pulse from 20 to 80 V. It
should be noted that the MEMS switches have a long
lifetime (about 10
cycles ) and allow switching
high-power (up to 10 W) microwave signals .
MEMS SWITCH DESIGN
To integrate transceiving devices operating in the
frequency band of 10–12 GHz in monolithic inte-
grated circuits (MICs), the MEMS switches operating
in this range should have a response voltage of lower
than 15 V, an insertion loss of lower than 0.2 dB, and
an isolation coefficient of more than 30 dB. Therefore,
we chose an electrostatic shunting switch with the
capacitive contact. This choice was dictated, first of
all, by the possibility of fabricating such switches by
methods of surface technology, which operate with the
materials and techniques used in gallium arsenide-
based MIC production. In addition, such switches
allow a membrane mount with the low coefficient of
elasticity to be used; thus, switches with a low (up to
6 V ) response voltage can be fabricated.
The electrostatic shunting MEMS switch with a
capacitive contact is a metal membrane located above
the microwave electrode and mounted on the earthed