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Nano-crystalline graphite for reliability improvement in MEM relay contacts

Nano-crystalline graphite for reliability improvement in MEM relay contacts
Nano-crystalline graphite for reliability improvement in MEM relay contacts

Micro- and Nano-electromechanical (MEM/NEM) relays can operate with zero-leakage at far higher temperatures and levels of radiation than transistors, but have poor reliability. This work demonstrates improvement in reliability of MEM relays using nano-crystalline graphite (NCG)-coated contact surfaces. The high stability of NCG in ambient air, along with its low surface energy, appears to make it an ideal contact material. NCG-coated relays achieved over 2.8 million fast, hot-switching cycles with a drain current of at least 5 μA and on-resistance under 17 kΩ, in ambient air. The relays also were tested in slow, hot-switching cycles designed to increase the electrical stress on the contact, and consistently achieved on-currents up to 50 μA or the imposed current limit without failure. The eventual cause of failure appeared to be mechanical stress on the NCG layer over repeated cycling causing degradation. Increasing the layer thickness is expected to further improve the contact reliability. The relays are scalable and can be used as micro- or nano-scale switches in electronic components designed for very high temperatures and levels of radiation.

0008-6223
193-199
Rana, Sunil
16726f81-3e09-45e4-b07b-944e7679e8ca
Reynolds, Jamie D.
96faa744-02ee-458c-8e48-953ea9e54afe
Ling, Ting Y.
67472eb1-3e63-41c6-8435-d6bc5b0b4f78
Shamsudin, Muhammad S.
eb92f047-22ef-41bc-a314-a413fe7bce2f
Pu, Suan H.
8b46b970-56fd-4a4e-8688-28668f648f43
Chong, Harold M.H.
795aa67f-29e5-480f-b1bc-9bd5c0d558e1
Pamunuwa, Dinesh
cf57fb7f-b05a-48d0-a9ef-2aca5f411cc3
Rana, Sunil
16726f81-3e09-45e4-b07b-944e7679e8ca
Reynolds, Jamie D.
96faa744-02ee-458c-8e48-953ea9e54afe
Ling, Ting Y.
67472eb1-3e63-41c6-8435-d6bc5b0b4f78
Shamsudin, Muhammad S.
eb92f047-22ef-41bc-a314-a413fe7bce2f
Pu, Suan H.
8b46b970-56fd-4a4e-8688-28668f648f43
Chong, Harold M.H.
795aa67f-29e5-480f-b1bc-9bd5c0d558e1
Pamunuwa, Dinesh
cf57fb7f-b05a-48d0-a9ef-2aca5f411cc3

Rana, Sunil, Reynolds, Jamie D., Ling, Ting Y., Shamsudin, Muhammad S., Pu, Suan H., Chong, Harold M.H. and Pamunuwa, Dinesh (2018) Nano-crystalline graphite for reliability improvement in MEM relay contacts. Carbon, 133, 193-199. (doi:10.1016/j.carbon.2018.03.011).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Micro- and Nano-electromechanical (MEM/NEM) relays can operate with zero-leakage at far higher temperatures and levels of radiation than transistors, but have poor reliability. This work demonstrates improvement in reliability of MEM relays using nano-crystalline graphite (NCG)-coated contact surfaces. The high stability of NCG in ambient air, along with its low surface energy, appears to make it an ideal contact material. NCG-coated relays achieved over 2.8 million fast, hot-switching cycles with a drain current of at least 5 μA and on-resistance under 17 kΩ, in ambient air. The relays also were tested in slow, hot-switching cycles designed to increase the electrical stress on the contact, and consistently achieved on-currents up to 50 μA or the imposed current limit without failure. The eventual cause of failure appeared to be mechanical stress on the NCG layer over repeated cycling causing degradation. Increasing the layer thickness is expected to further improve the contact reliability. The relays are scalable and can be used as micro- or nano-scale switches in electronic components designed for very high temperatures and levels of radiation.

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Accepted/In Press date: 6 March 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 9 March 2018
Published date: 1 July 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420304
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420304
ISSN: 0008-6223
PURE UUID: 92c353a0-756f-4801-9517-143d0f007a3d
ORCID for Jamie D. Reynolds: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0072-0134
ORCID for Suan H. Pu: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3335-8880
ORCID for Harold M.H. Chong: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7110-5761

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Date deposited: 03 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 20 Mar 2020 05:01

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Contributors

Author: Sunil Rana
Author: Jamie D. Reynolds ORCID iD
Author: Ting Y. Ling
Author: Muhammad S. Shamsudin
Author: Suan H. Pu ORCID iD
Author: Dinesh Pamunuwa

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