Document Type




Publication Date



IOP Publishing

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Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering

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This paper presents a method for selecting metal alloys as the electric contact materials for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) metal contact switches. This procedure consists of reviewing macro-switch lessons learned, utilizing equilibrium binary alloy phase diagrams, obtaining thin film material properties and, based on a suitable model, predicting contact resistance performance. After determining a candidate alloy material, MEMS switches were designed, fabricated and tested to validate the alloy selection methodology. Minimum average contact resistance values of 1.17 and 1.87 Ω were measured for micro-switches with gold (Au) and gold–platinum (Au–(6.3%)Pt) alloy electric contacts, respectively. In addition, 'hot-switched' life cycle test results of 1.02 × 108 and 2.70 × 108 cycles were collected for micro-switches with Au and Au–(6.3%)Pt contacts, respectively. These results indicate increased wear with a small increase in contact resistance for MEMS switches with metal alloy electric contacts.


Accepted version. Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, Vol. 14, No. 8 (June 17, 2004): 1157. DOI. © 2018 IOP Publishing. Used with permission.

Ronald A. Coutu, Jr. was affiliated with the Air Force Institute of Technology, AFIT/ENG, 2950 Hobson Way, Wright Patterson AFB, OH at the time of publication.

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