Microrelay Design, Performance, and Systems


Surface micromachined four terminal relays have been fabricated, tested, and packaged. The relays are implemented in a foundry process with minimal post-processing. They show on resistances as low as 20mW, current carrying capacities as highas 0.48 Amps, and lifetimes in the millions of cycles while hot switching 80mA. These devices are thus competitive with commercial macroscopic relays.

Achieving these high performance and reliability levels required exploring the physics and tribology of microrelays and using novel physical experiments to outline a design philosophy for microrelays. This philosophy with standard macrorelay design methods by recommending small gaps, light mechanical elements, and low force levels. These differences from the standard relays design philosophy, however, are supported by theory and experiment and stem from the basic physical differences between designing at the macro scale and the micro scale.

Finally, system design is explored and computation using microrelays is demon-strated as a new application made possible by the tiny scale of these relays.

Publication date: 
May 31, 1999
Publication type: 
Ph.D. Dissertation
Kruglick, E. J. J. (1999). Microrelay Design, Performance, and Systems. United States: University of California, Berkeley.

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