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In the last years MEMS technology has demonstrated to be a very attractive solution for the production of high performances RF switches. As such, it is an enabling technology for the development of high performances, high complexity and very compact switch matrices, able to cope with the ever increasing requirements in terms of capability, flexibility and connectivity of modern telecom payloads. In order to achieve this goal, integration and reliability issues linked to that technology and to that kind of units shall be extensively explored since R&D efforts have been until now mainly focused at the component level. In this frame Thales Alenia Space Italia is involved in several R&D programs aimed at the development and reliability investigation of RF MEMS based switch matrices. These include the ESA programs "Very Large Order Switch Matrices Using MEMS Technology" and "High Reliability MEMS Redundancy Switch", the development of a MEMS switch matrix unit to be included in Alphasat experimental payload, the development of in-house foundry capabilities for MEMS on ceramics and MEMS integrated on ISP (Integrated Substrate Package). This paper reports about the studies conducted in the frame of these activities and their main findings. One of the main challenges in manufacturing very compact, high order switching matrices is the need to route an high number of RF and DC signals in a small space while assuring an high isolation between channels and signal integrity on control lines. Integration and packaging thus play a key role. In the paper several switch matrix architectures are presented along with different integration and …
Publication date: 
1 Jan 2008

G Mannocchi, M Carbone, W Chiesa, C Cianci, S Di Nardo, E Di Paola, M Feudale, O Vendier, A Muller, L Vietzorreck, F Casini, P Farinelli, Flavio Giacomozzi, Benno Margesin, R Marcelli

Biblio References: 
ESA Microwave Technology and Techniques Workshop 2008