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Masoud Dahmardeh, Mohamed Sultan Mohamed Ali, Tanveer Saleh, Tee Min Hian, Mehran Vahdani Moghaddam, Alireza Nojeh and Kenichi Takahata Front Cover: High-power MEMS switch enabled by carbon-nanotube contact and shape-memory-alloy actuator (Phys. Status Solidi A 4/20123) physica status solidi (a) 210

Version of Record online: 4 APR 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/pssa.201390009

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Micro-electro-mechanical switches offer many benefits over solid-state switches. Due to the physical limitations of power transistors, high-power switches based on micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) technology have been attracting more attention. However, reliability and lifetime of the contact are among the challenges of MEMS contact switches, especially for high-power applications. Dahmardeh et al. (pp. 631–638) use vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, so called CNT forests, as the contact material for MEMS switches to reveal very promising performance characteristics. A micromachined shape-memory-alloy (SMA) actuator is integrated with a CNT-forest contact, showing device operation with input powers over 5 W. Long-term operation for over 1 × 106 switching cycles is demonstrated. Combining CNTs and SMAs potentially enables a robust switching device desirable for high-power, DC/low-frequency applications. The cover image symbolically illustrates the approach taken by the researchers towards realizing reliable MEMS switches through a carbon nanotube “path”.

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