A MEMS RF switch from Menlo Micro helps eliminate the decision of whether to design a semiconductor or mechanical switch into your circuits.
When designing a switch into a circuit, you’ve probably been faced with a tradeoff. Semiconductor switches are fast and live long, but they have relatively high RON that can produce unacceptable losses. Mechanical switches, with their direct contact, have much lower RON but suffer from shorter lives, relatively large size, and bouncing. At IMS 2020, Menlo Micro demonstrated what the company calls an “Ideal” switch. While no switch is perfect, The company’s MM5120 (12 GHz) and MM5130 (18 GHz) come pretty close, boasting 0.5 &Omega RON.
The two MEMS devices, configured as 4PDT switches, have applications such as in filter banks or in driving beam-steering antennas. The switches can pass 25 W continuous or 150 W pulsed. That’s enough to drive the beamforming antennas needed for 5G. They’re rated for 85°C, something that’s needed in 5G base stations, which can get hot.
Figure 1 shows an application of the switch in a 7-channel tunable filter. In this application, Menlo Micro claims:
- 7 channels, Low Loss (1.5dB)
- High Power (60 W CW, >43W out)
- Less than 17 W lost as heat
- Fast Switching (<10 µs)
In the video, 5G Technology World talks with Menlo Micro’s Chris Giovaniello, who explains the technology behind and applications for the “Ideal” switch.