Jeff Child for All About Circuits –December 2, 2022
As the electrification of all things moves into fast growing markets like EV chargers, solar panel electronics, and industrial automation, the old ways of power distribution aren’t cutting it. Feeding that need, today Menlo Micro has released what it claims as the industry’s first MEMS (microelectromechanical system) power switch, capable of handling 10 A in a miniature 5 mm x 5 mm surface-mount package.
Offering an extremely low contact resistance of 10 mΩ, the company claims the MM9200 as the world’s lowest-loss and highest power capable MEMS switch.
In this article, we outline the problem the MM9200 MEMS switch solves for engineers, examine the details of the device, and we share perspectives from our interview with Chris Giovanniello, Menlo Micro’s co-founder and senior vice president of marketing.
Even in today’s world of advanced electronics technology, Giovanniello points out that at least 80% of today’s power distribution is still done with old-fashioned mechanical relays—a technology that hasn't changed much in over 100 years.
“Those are very nice from an electrical perspective because you have that metal-to-metal contact,” says Giovanniello, “But the form factors that you have with mechanical relays are large, and the lifetimes that they have are a problem because they can only operate in thousands of times before they wear out and have to be replaced.” That situation is unacceptable for today’s trends with the future electrification of the world where you want to manage power loads constantly.
Getting a sneak preview of the MM9200 MEMS switch, All About Circuits’ Editor-in-Chief Jeff Child talking to Chris Giovanniello at Menlo Micro’s booth at Electronica last month