Monday, March 19, 2012

Advantest enters MEMS relay market

TOKYO, JAPAN: Advantest Corp. will begin shipments of MEMS relay samples in April 2012. Advantest developed these relays for use in semiconductor testing equipment, high-speed communications devices, high-frequency wave measurement equipment and components therein.

At present, high-frequency wave relays typically use electromagnetic or electrostatic actuation. Electromagnetic relays are big and have high power consumption.

Electrostatic relays are easily affected by static electricity in the atmosphere and have high actuation voltage. Using piezoelectric actuation, Advantest’s MEMS relays solve these issues. Using Advantest’s proprietary deposition technology, the relay features a piezoelectric film only 1 micron thick, which is required to run low actuation voltage.

The relay also has high reliability, using contact-point control technology honed in Advantest’s semiconductor testing equipment. The relay is smaller and uses less power than electromagnetic relays, and is superior over electrostatic relays in terms of environmental susceptibility and actuation voltage. Also, using Advantest’s high-frequency measurement technology, the relay can handle up to 20GHz high-frequency transmission.

Mass production is scheduled to begin in January 2013.

Going forward, in addition to the semiconductor testing area, Advantest will continue to introduce groundbreaking solutions in other fields such as automotive and pharmaceutical /medical care.

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