MEMS power switch demo for a circuit breaker

MEMS power switch demo for a circuit breaker

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Menlo Micro is demonstrating the use of its MM9200 MEMS power switch for circuit breaker applications.

The Menlo MM9200 is a high-power SPST microelectromechanical MEMS switch built on a glass substrate that was launched in 2022. The technology enables highly reliable microelectromechanical switches capable of carrying high voltage and high current in a small form factor.

“It sits between a electromechanical and solid state MOSFET switch and does not have the cycle life of the semiconductor switch but a low on resistance of 10mΩ in a 6 x 6.5mm QFN form factor. That compares favourably with solid state technology,”  Chris Umminger, vice president of power products at Menlo Micro tells eeNews Europe.

The MM9200s vs. SiC MOSFETs Comparison Demo at the PCIM exhibition this week in Germany uses the same board form factor to highlight the advantages of scaling MM9200 devices compared to SiC MOSFETs in a 240V AC application.

Menlo conducted temperature and on-state resistance measurements on both boards: the MM9200 board (12 Parallel – 2 Series) and the SiC MOSFETs board (4 Parallel – 2 Series) at 40A.

The 40mm x 50mm board can host 24 MM9200 switches, compared to eight SiC MOSFETs in the same form factor.

“The MM9200 power switches are 12 in parallel, 2 in series and that gives 600V breakdown,” he said. The MEMS switch runs up to 60A, but the measurements couldn’t sustain operation of the SiC MOSFETs board beyond 52A due to the case temperature exceeding 150°C (25°C below the junction temperature), says Umminger

“The big advantage of the MEMS technology is that it an all metal alloy technology to increase the lifetime so it is built out of a conductor so we would increase the amount of metal,” he said.  

“It is built on a semiconductor flow with wafer lithography so those kinds of manufacturing steps are scalable and our CTO has some ideas on how to move forward and the fundamentals are favourable for cost reduction. This is a full conductor and the substrate is glass and both of those mean the technology is known and scalable.”

“We are not there yet,” he said. “This is our first effort for the power market so we are in a learning curve to explore where it best fits.”

“Another piece of the challenge is that there are many sizes and ratings for circuit breakers so this technology can be used in an array it may lend itself better to the higher power applications and there’s the on resistance benefit stands out.

Menlo is sampling the MM9200 to several customers at the moment, including in Europe.


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