This paper presents a new way to design MEMS (microelectromechanical system) metal contact switches for RF applications using miniature MEMS cantilevers. A single 25 × 25 μm switch is first demonstrated with a Au-to-Ru contact, Cu = 5 fF and Ron = 7 Ω at an actuation voltage of 55 V. The measured switching time is 2.2 μs and the release time is <;1 μs. The switch is robust to stress effects (residual and stress gradients) which increases its yield on large wafers. To reduce the effective switch resistance, 10-20 miniature RF MEMS switches have been placed in parallel and result in equal current division between the switches, an up-state capacitance of 30-65 fF and a down-state resistance of 1.4-1.5 Ω. Furthermore, 10-20 element back-to-back switch arrays are developed and result in a marked improvement in the reliability of the overall switching device. A series-shunt design is also demonstrated with greatly improved isolation. The device has a figure-of-merit of fc = 1/(2πRonCu) = 3.8 THz (RonCu = 42 fs).
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