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Charge Carriers Injection/Extraction at the Metal-Polymer Interface and Its Influence in the Capacitive Microelectromechanical Systems-Switches Actuation Voltage

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Opposite results concerning the sign of the parasitic charge accumulated at the metal dielectric contact in RF microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) capacitive switches are found in the literature. The mechanism concerning charge injection/extraction at the metal-dielectric contact and its influence on the pull-in voltage needs to be further clarified. A model-switch, for which only one dimension is in the microns range, is used to study the behaviour of a capacitive RF MEMS switch. The aim is to analyze how the electric charge is injected/extracted into or from the dielectric material under the applied field and to obtain realistic data to understand how this parasitic charge influences the pull-in voltage V pi and the pull-off voltage V po. A triangle voltage is employed to measure V pi and V po, by measuring the isothermal charging/discharging currents. Our results demonstrate that V pi is strongly dependent on the injected/extracted charge on the free surface of the dielectric. The charge injected/extracted at the bottom side of the dielectric has no influence on the actuation voltage. The charge injected/extracted on the free surface of the dielectric determines an increase of the modulus of V pi and, eventually, the switch can fail to actuate. An estimation of the charge stored into the material was obtained (i) by measuring the charging current and the discharging current and (ii) from the value of the V pi. The parasitic charge necessary to keep the bridge stick to the insulator is 5.3 × 10−4 C m−2 for our experimental conditions. The modification of the V pi determined by the stored charge in the dielectric is analyzed. An increase of the relative dielectric permittivity by a factor of 2 produces a decrease of the actuation voltage of 10%. A variation of 30% in the elastic constant determines a variation of about 20% in the V pi. A voltage threshold for charge injection/extraction was not observed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2010

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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