Compact modelling-based coupled simulation of RF-MEMS networks for 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) applications


In this work, the exploitation of an on-purpose software library, previously presented by the author, is discussed in order to simulate the coupled behaviour of RF-MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical-Systems for Radio Frequency applications) devices and networks within a commercial integrated circuits (ICs) development framework. After the validation of the proposed tool against electromechanical experimental measurements of an RF-MEMS switch, the software library is exploited to simulate the multiphysics electromechanical and electromagnetic behaviour of a MEMS-based reconfigurable RF power step attenuator (complex network) manufactured within a surface micromachining RF-MEMS technology platform. The dynamic (transient) electromechanical measured behaviour of the MEMS switches comprised in the attenuator is well-predicted by the simulations based on the implemented compact models, proving the latter ones properly take into account all the salient features determining the coupled behaviour of MEMS devices, i.e. electromechanical transduction, elasticity, inertia, as well as dissipative effects, like gas viscous damping. Furthermore, simulation of the RF-MEMS complex network is completed by the inclusion of S-parameters (Scattering parameters) behaviour. To this purpose, frequency analysis of different attenuation levels realised by the network, depending on the configuration of several micro-switches, is performed. The case study reported in this paper represents a comprehensive exploitation example of the MEMS compact model library, aimed to the coupled electromechanical and electromagnetic simulation of RF-MEMS devices and networks within commercial ICs development tools, like Cadence, Keysight advanced design system (ADS), Mentor, and so on. Eventually, the discussion presented in this paper mentions a rather efficient solution to enable the simulation of entire hybrid circuits and blocks, composed of MEMS/RF-MEMS passive elements and standard semiconductor active circuitry (e.g. CMOS), within the same analysis and development environment.

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Iannacci, J. Compact modelling-based coupled simulation of RF-MEMS networks for 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Microsyst Technol 25, 329–338 (2019).

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