physica status solidi (a)
© WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Editor: Stefan Hildebrandt (Editor-in-Chief), Sabine Bahrs (Deputy Editor)
Online ISSN: 1862-6319
Front 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”.