McBride, J.W., Yunus, E.M. and Spearing, S.M.
Gold coated carbon nanotube surfaces as low force electrical contacts for MEMS devices: part 1.
In, 55th IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts, Vancouver, Canada,
14 - 16 Sep 2009.
An experimental investigation of a gold coated vertically aligned carbon nanotube surfaces is undertaken to determine the limits of the electrical contact performance over a large number of switching cycles under low force conditions and with current loading (1mA-50mA at 4V). The multi-walled CNT’s (MWCNT’s) are synthesized on a silicon planar and sputter coated with a gold film. The planar surfaces are mounted on the tip of a PZT actuator and mated with a coated Au hemispherical probe. The electrical load is selected to reflect typical MEMs relay loads with a 4V supply, 1 and 10mA current load with an applied force of 1mN. The surfaces tested maintain a stable contact resistance over 106 switching cycles. To determine the limits, the contact force is increased to 3mN under dry circuit conditions and the current increased at the 1mN load to 20mA-50mA. The surfaces are compared with a reference Au-Au contact under the same experimental conditions. For the surfaces investigated the current loading limit was determined to be 20mA where the contacts failed after 50x106 cycles.
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