General Electric has created a 3GHz RF MEMS switch that can handle up to 5kW of power.
Measuring just 50 x 50µm, the device is expected to enable increased data transfer speeds, enhanced signal quality and the advanced RF designs required of LTE-Advanced devices. In addition, GE says its ultra low insertion loss of 10nW will extend battery life in 4G smartphones. "To manufacture a metal-to-metal contact switch that can handle kilowatts of power is truly a breakthrough in the MEMS industry," said Chris Giovanniello, vice president of business development at GE Technology Liscensing. The company claims the device can last for billions of cycles under extreme operating conditions, such as elevated temperature, while maintaining extremely low contact resistance. This achievement is attributed to the material set developed by GE researchers, although details about this have not been disclosed. The switch can be scaled up to support higher power applications, including wireless infrastructure. Channel isolation is rated at 35dB at 3GHz. Looking ahead, GE says it is actively working with development partners to license the proprietary process and enable other low cost manufacturing options, allowing for the technology to be adopted in consumer and industrial applications.