Glass vias boost MEMS power switch performance

June 13, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Glass vias boost MEMS power switch performance
Power switch startup Menlo Micro has hit a major milestone in the development of its MEMS-based Digital-Micro-Switch (DMS) technology platform.

Working with glass maker Corning, it has demonstrated the integration of Through Glass Via (TGV) packaging technology, allowing the MEMS power switches to be stacked at the wafer scale for increased channel density and size reduction. This wafer scale packaging allows Menlo to shrink the components by more than 60 percent compared to traditional wire-bond packaging technologies while also slashing production costs.

Menlo Micro 8” RF MEMS wafer with a
wafer-level-bonded TGV cap wafer from Corning.

By eliminating wire bonds and replacing them with short, well-controlled metallized vias through the glass substrate, Menlo says it is also able to reduce package parasitics by more than 75 percent.

“The initial decision we made to develop our DMS technology as a metal-to-metal contact switch on a glass substrate was critical to ensure performance,” said Chris Keimel, CTO at Menlo Micro.

Using proprietary materials, designs and wafer-level processing techniques, Menlo’s DMS technology has demonstrated reliability in real-life applications (typically exceeding 10 billion switching operations with a roadmap to exceed 20 billion), all while handling hundreds of volts and tens of amps of current.

“Packaging has always been a limitation," said Keimal. "By moving to TGV we have eliminated the unnecessary interconnects that had been limiting performance. Corning delivered a high-performance via in glass, and our hermeticity and reliability requirements are also achieved. This will allow us to push our product roadmap into new markets. We are substantially increasing performance and reducing overall size and cost to levels that will be truly transformative to many applications.”

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