Having made exceptional advances in recent years, microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology is now set to transform radio frequency (RF). Interest and research efforts toward RF MEMS devices are constantly growing and their potential applications include wireless communications, military, space and instrumentation.
These devices seek to control RF energy usually in the form of MEMS switches; process RF signals in the form of MEM filters, tunable/switchable filter banks and integrated mixer-filters; and generate RF carriers in the form of MEMS oscillators.
If you are interested in an analysis which provides manufacturers, end users, and other industry participants with an overview, summary, challenges, and latest coverage of Advances in RF MEMS Technology – then send an e-mail to Tori Foster – Corporate Communications – at tori.foster[.]frost.com with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, fax number and email. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you by e-mail.
“However, being a new and relatively untried technology, one of the biggest challenges is to keep the focus firmly on its performance and the many benefits it provides,” says Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights Research Analyst Rajesh Kannan.
This is bound to be a difficult task since RF MEMS devices face several core issues that stand in the way of mass-market adoption. These include reliability issues such as temperature drift, life, degradation dielectric (breakdown, leakage) and stiction or static friction.
Packaging challenges also abound in MEMS because of the need for freestanding mechanical structures to be well protected and to be free of contamination during the manufacturing process and the lifetime of the component. The layout and materials used in packaging RF MEMS devices are also critical factors, as they can strongly affect device performance.
Despite these challenges, the potential of RF MEMS technology to transform present and future-day communications cannot be underestimated. Components based on this technology deliver superior RF performance and tunability over a much broader range of operating frequencies. For instance, an RF MEMS switch concurrently provides improved insertion loss, isolation and linearity.
Enabled by RF MEMS, passive devices such as switches, switchable varactors, inductors, transmission lines and resonators perform at optimum levels. Typically known for their low power consumption and reconfigurability, RF MEMS are ideally suited to enable wireless appliances operating in the home/ground, mobile and space spheres such as handsets, base stations and satellites. With these properties, RF MEMS could even help achieve ubiquitous wireless connectivity.
Indeed, the mobile phone industry is a key driver in RF development. Research efforts are currently directed toward developing a single-chip RF circuit in response to wireless system manufacturers’ need for lower weight, volume, cost and increased functionality. Companies are looking at integrating MEMS devices directly on the RF chip. This enables numerous discrete components to be replaced; thereby offering enhanced performance and reliability along with significant cost savings.
“The industry is only now beginning to see the benefits of such integrated devices,” says Kannan. “Over time, this integration can lead to the replacement of all passive RF chips with on-chip devices, offering considerable benefits such as smaller form factors for cell phones and added functionalities including Internet connectivity.”
Advances in RF MEMS Technology is part of the D925 subscription, and provides a detailed analysis of emerging RF MEMS technologies and their major potential applications. It discusses important technology developments and trends worldwide in the RF MEMS domain, and provides a breakdown of critical ongoing research by region. Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters and research services.
Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company, has been partnering with clients to support the development of innovative strategies for more than 40 years. The company's industry expertise integrates growth consulting, growth partnership services, and corporate management training to identify and develop opportunities. Frost & Sullivan serves an extensive clientele that includes Global 1000 companies, emerging companies, and the investment community by providing comprehensive industry coverage that reflects a unique global perspective and combines ongoing analysis of markets, technologies, econometrics, and demographics.