New 8” wafer incorporating Menlo’s Digital-Micro-Switch (DMS) technology can reduce size, weight, power consumption, manufacturing costs of electronic systems
Menlo Micro (Menlo) has successfully ported its Digital-Micro-Switch (DMS) technology platform from an R&D facility to a commercial 8” wafer manufacturing line.
Innovative advancement in alloys, processing and packaging has enabled Menlo to shrink the size of its product by more than 60 percent as compared to conventional products. The new material science of Menlo has simplified manufacturing flow ultimately reducing 30-40 percent manufacturing steps when compared to CMOS processes. And this simplification has lead to reduction in size, weight, power consumption and manufacturing costs of electronic systems.
Using Menlo’s approach micromechanical devices can handle unprecedented power with better electrical performance, size, cost, and reliability as compared to both traditional mechanical relays and solid-state devices. – Stated by the company, also mentioned “New switches manufactured by Menlo are smaller than a human hair in structure and yet they can handle kilowatts of power – while operating 1000x faster and lasting 1000x longer than typical mechanical relays.”
Menlo is planning 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 more.
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. According to Chris Keimel, CTO for Menlo Micro, “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” 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.”
Over 100,000 production units from its existing manufacturing line has already been shipped. In partnership with Corning Incorporated, leaders in Through Glass Via (TGV) packaging technology, and Silex Microsystems, recognized as the world’s largest pure-play MEMS foundry, Menlo has started manufacturing from their new manufacturing line and will begin scaling up the production of micro-mechanical switches before year’s end.
About Corning’s Through Glass Via Packaging Technology
Corning’s TGV brings major performance benefits to Menlo’s DMS products. By eliminating wire bonds and replacing them with short, well-controlled metallized vias, package parasitics are reduced by more than 75 percent. This allows support for increasingly higher frequencies, which are becoming more and more important in advanced wireless communications systems, test instrumentation, and numerous aerospace and defense applications. Additionally, the unique properties of glass versus legacy substrate materials like silicon enable lower RF losses and higher linearity, which translates into lower power consumption and higher overall efficiency.
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