Contact Resistance Evaluation of Micro-Contacts with Upper Hemisphere and Lower Planar or Engineered Surfaces

Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Date



Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

Source Publication

2014 IEEE 60th Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts (Holm)

Source ISSN



This paper presents a comparison of the resistance performance of Au-Au micro-contacts fabricated with planar and engineered lower contacts. Gray-scale lithography was used to construct 3D structures into photoresist. The structures were then etched into a silicon wafer using a Trion reactive ion etch (RIE) system. The engineered lower contact surfaces consisted of 2D pyramids and 3D pyramid patterns paired with a hemispherical upper contact. A microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) micro-contact support structure, consisting of a fixed-fixed beam, was micro machined as the upper contact. The micro-contact support structure was used as the platform for a hemisphere shaped upper contact. The micro-contacts were actuated using an external, calibrated load. To observe micro-contact performance, the contact resistance and force required to close the contact, were monitored throughout testing. Next the micro-contacts underwent contact resistance testing to evaluate how the engineered lower contacts affected performance. Results show that the 3D pyramid design closely matched the hemisphere/planar contact data with a contact resistance of 0.7Ω after 10 7 cycles. The 2D pyramid pattern resulted in a higher contact resistance during initial testing and then ended with a contact resistance of 1.083Ω after 10 7 cycles.


Published as a part of 2014 IEEE 60th Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts (Holm), (October 12-15, 2014): 124-131. DOI.

Ronald A. Coutu was affiliated with the Air Force Institute of Technology at the time of publication.