Digital-Micro-Switch Technology from Menlo Commercially Available
Menlo Micro announced that its Digital-Micro-Switch (DMS) technology platform has been successfully ported from an R&D facility to a commercial 8 in. wafer manufacturing line. Menlo’s new wafer manufacturing line is the result of the company transferring its proven, ultra-reliable DMS process, developed at GE Global Research, to Silex Microsystems.
In partnership with Corning and Silex Microsystems, Menlo is now sampling product from this new manufacturing line and will begin scaling up the production of its unique micro-mechanical switches before year’s end. Having already shipped over 100,000 production units from its existing manufacturing line, this new milestone lets Menlo significantly scale its manufacturing and business operations, enabling the proliferation of its high performance RF and power products into a much broader array of end markets. Menlo plans to use this advanced manufacturing capability to produce micro-mechanical switches that will bring step-function improvements in performance for systems in medical equipment, military communications, test and measurement instrumentation, industrial automation, 5G communications networks and others.
Innovations in advanced alloys, processing and packaging have allowed Menlo to shrink the size of its products by more than 60 percent compared to previous generations. Menlo’s material science breakthroughs have also enabled a simplified manufacturing flow, representing a 30 to 40 percent reduction in manufacturing steps compared to typical CMOS processes. This simplification helps reduce manufacturing costs. Together, these advancements play a key role in Menlo’s vision of reducing the size, weight and power consumption of critical electronic systems.
Menlo’s unique approach allows it to offer unprecedented power handling in a micromechanical device, with superior electrical performance, size, cost and reliability compared to both traditional mechanical relays and solid-state devices. Menlo’s switches are built in a structure smaller than a human hair, yet they have been proven to be capable of handling kilowatts of power — while operating 1000x faster and lasting 1000x longer than typical mechanical relays.
“In less than two years, we’ve been able to successfully transition our robust and reliable MEMS switch process from a research environment to a true production fab. In this period of time, we have also achieved several key technical milestones, most notably the integration of Corning’s TGV substrates with Menlo’s MEMS switch process to deliver a miniaturized, chip-scale package solution for our products. Scaling the process to an 8 in. production line is a significant step that brings size, cost, performance and manufacturability improvements to Menlo’s DMS products — and demonstrates that the technology can indeed be scaled to commercial levels.” — Chris Keimel, CTO for Menlo Micro