MEMs microswitch arrays for reconfigurable distributed microwave components
July 16, 2000
A revolutionary device technology and circuit concept is introduced for a new class of reconfigurable microwave circuits and antennas. The underlying mechanism is a compact MEMs cantilever microswitch that is arrayed in two-dimensions. The switches have the ability to be individually actuated. By constructing distributed circuit components from an array, the individual addressability of the microswitch provides the means to reconfigure the circuit trace and, thus, provides the ability to either fine-tune or completely reconfigure the circuit element's behavior. Device performance can be reconfigured over a decade in bandwidth in the nominal frequency range of 1 to 100 GHz. In addition, other circuit-element attributes can be reconfigured such as instantaneous bandwidth, impedance, and polarization (for antennas). This will enable the development of next-generation communication, radar and surveillance systems with agiIity to reconfigure operation for diverse operating bands, modes, power levels, and waveforms.