Menlo Micro, a pioneer in miniature RF MEMS switches, has raised $44 million in a Series B round of funding.
Most of the money will be used to significantly increase production capacity of what the company refers to as the “ideal switch.” A spin-off from GE Ventures four years ago, the company has been refining the process that GE had been working on for some 12 years.
Menlo Micro has already sampled devices to companies in the wireless communications, aerospace and defence sectors for deployment in, for instance, base stations, phased array radars, antennas, radio heads and military radios. The devices will be targeted at wireless infrastructure makers focusing on 5G.
According to Chris Giovanniello, one of the co-founders and senior vice president at Menlo, “the key to the whole process is being able to make moving actuators that are truly robust.”
Talking to EE Times, Giavanniello said perhaps one of the toughest challenges was to devise an electrically conductive alloy that could withstand huge numbers of bending and unbending cycles. “The contact material used is also of vital importance for making the devices ultra reliable,” he stressed.
Giovanniello would not reveal what the material is, but noted there is some gold in the alloy that is now being used. The metal-to-metal contact switch is constructed on a fully-isolating glass substrate and shrunk down to the form-factor of a solid-state device.