• Patent

High voltage micromachined electrostatic switch


Goodwin, S. (2001). IPC No. U.S.High voltage micromachined electrostatic switch (Patent No. 6229683.)


A MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) electrostatically operated high voltage switch or relay device is provided. This device can switch high voltages while using relatively low electrostatic operating voltages. The MEMS device comprises a microelectronic substrate, a substrate electrode, and one or more substrate contacts. The MEMS device also includes a moveable composite overlying the substrate, one or more composite contacts, and at least one insulator. In cross section, the moveable composite comprises an electrode layer and a biasing layer. In length, the moveable composite comprises a fixed portion attached to the underlying substrate, a medial portion, and a distal portion moveable with respect to the substrate electrode. The distal and/or medial portions of the moveable composite are biased in position when no electrostatic force is applied. Applying a voltage between the substrate electrode and moveable composite electrode creates an electrostatic force that attracts the moveable composite to the underlying microelectronic substrate. The substrate contact and composite contact are selectively interconnected in response to the application of electrostatic force. Once electrostatic force is removed, the moveable composite reassumes the biased position such that the substrate and composite contacts are disconnected. Various embodiments further define components of the device. Other embodiments further include a source of electrical energy, a diode, and a switching device connected to different components of the MEMS device. A method of using the aforementioned electrostatic MEMS device is provided.