physica status solidi (a)

Cover image for Vol. 213 Issue 9

Editor: Stefan Hildebrandt (Editor-in-Chief), Sabine Bahrs (Deputy Editor)

Online ISSN: 1862-6319

Associated Title(s): physica status solidi (b), physica status solidi (c), physica status solidi (RRL) - Rapid Research Letters

210_04/2013Front Cover: High-power MEMS switch enabled by carbon-nanotube contact and shape-memory-alloy actuator (Phys. Status Solidi A 4/20123)

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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