CMOS NEMS to bring integration to RF switching

March 11, 2019 //By Julien Happich
CMOS NEMS to bring integration to RF switching
As well as announcing its first commercial product, a CMOS-based 2D motion detector leveraging nanometer-sized electromechanical systems (NEMS), UK-based startup Nanusens was showcasing nanoscale mechanical RF switches at Mobile World Congress.

Although the company didn’t want to share its roadmap on NEMS RF switches, Nanusens’ CEO Dr. Josep Montanyà commented that since the devices were built with the same standard CMOS processes used for its NEMS sensors, it took advantage of every tape out to run split wafers and make progress on the RF front too.

The CEO claims the NEMS RF switches would beat all incumbent devices found in today’s smartphones on a cost and footprint basis, especially if co-designed with extra functionalities in CMOS, such as the necessary antenna tuner.

Close-up on the NEMS RF switches.

“We are still elaborating the specs and that’s why we are also exhibiting this capability at MWC for potential customers” Montanyà said, pointing to a prototype switch running under a microscope. When made aware of Menlo Micro’s venture in the RF market with MEMS switches built on glass substrates, the CEO emphasized how using a standard CMOS process really simplified everything from a design perspective, lowering overall systems costs.

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