Don’t take our word for it.
“We ran tests on it at pSemi and then Murata and it was by far the best switch I'd ever seen. That was in 2014, pretty early on in the company. There's just way more runway here.
There are opportunities certainly in RF, but there are also opportunities in power and relay replacements... This has the potential to change real stuff that you use every day. It's huge. I mean, it's really huge.”
“Having worked in the MEMS arena for 45 years, and demonstrated the very first R&D MEMS switch more than 40 years ago, I am so excited that the Menlo Micro team is close to commercialization of the first viable MEMS ohmic switch.
During the past 10-15 years, MEMS microphones, accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, and oscillators have replaced more traditional mechanical versions of these devices, which have been in production for decades. It looks like the 200 year-old electro-mechanical relay will be the next casualty of MEMS technology."
“For 40+ years the industry has been trying to develop the perfect combination of the electromechanical relay and the silicon transistor. Well, Menlo Micro has engineered the holy grail with this Ideal Switch.
The Ideal Switch is a tiny, efficient, reliable micro-mechanical switch with unmatched RF-performance and, counterintuitively, high-power handling of 1,000s of Watts.
As our world moves to the electrification and wireless of everything, Menlo Micro’s deep innovation is already triggering massive cross-industry upheaval.”
"Twenty years ago, engineers specializing in radio-frequency circuits dared to dream of an “ideal switch.” It would have superlow resistance when “on,” superhigh when “off,” and so much more. It would be tiny, fast, readily manufacturable, capable of switching fairly high currents, able to withstand billions of on-off cycles, and would require very little power to operate. It would conduct signals well up in the tens or even hundreds of gigahertz with no distortion at all (close-to-perfect linearity)...
And now, after one of the longer and more turbulent tech-development efforts of the 21st Century, RF MEMS switches finally appear headed for commercial success."
My history with the Ideal Switch goes back to its origins in the labs of GE Global Research, to 2004.
There were enormous technical challenges that required a team of world class experts in metallurgy, device physics, and semiconductor processing almost a decade to solve; and GE was uniquely suited to get it done.
We knew that once we had successfully replaced high power PIN diodes in our first application of MRI RF imaging coils, that the applications would be very broad. I am very fortunate to have been a part of this journey for over 15 years, from its inception to the formation of Menlo Microsystems and the industrialization of an entirely new product category, the Ideal Switch.
“The concept of an ‘ideal switch’ was theoretical – something companies have been working to achieve for decades – until Menlo Micro,. We are excited to work with such an experienced team on a core technology that is disrupting nearly every industry.”
"This type of RF performance is usually reserved for large RF mechanical relays, which are 50x larger, 1000x slower and 1000x less reliable than products manufactured with Menlo Micro’s Ideal Switch technology.
In addition, the MM51xx series features extreme linearity and harmonic performance, in many cases +30 to +40 dB better than solid-state, all with high-power handling capability and stable performance over much broader bandwidths, down to DC."
“The new MEMS switches from Menlo Micro are truly exceptional in their low losses, high current handling and linearity. They are a real gamechanger in the RF industry as they enable new types of tunable and switchable RF front ends and antenna systems. Our customers, who are using the Optenni Lab RF Design Automation Platform to design tunable RF systems, appreciate such high performance switches to reduce system losses.”
The decades old promise of RF MEMS becoming mainstream technology has up to now, not been realized, but the key problems now appear to have been solved by Menlo Micro.
The poor reliability and harmonic performance of previous solutions have prevented any sustained market entry, but Menlo appears to have overcome the reliability issue through metallurgy advancements, and the poor harmonics with an innovative glass package. I would say well done, and I am looking forward to see the promise of RF MEMS become a reality.
Trends around higher speed, miniaturization, and interconnectivity are all driving the increased need for glass across the electronics industry.
Menlo’s Ideal Switch is blazing the trail, taking advantage of Corning's precision glass and glass processing capabilities to create products that are revolutionizing multiple industries, from communications to industrial controls.
We are excited to see such a broad range of applications that are benefitting from the unique characteristics of the Ideal Switch and are proud to be supplying Corning solutions to enable these emerging trends.
"The MEMS switch is an ideal element for this type of application as it has both very low on resistance (<0.5 Ω) and off capacitance (0.03 pF) which means any parasitic resonances appear well out of the band of operation. When compared to other solid-state switch technologies, these have very low parasitics."