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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 679313, 6 pages
Research Article

Characterization on Contacting Surfaces of MEMS Electrostatic Switches by SEM, EDXA, and XPS

1Special Engineering Design Bureau Joint Stock Company (SEDB JSC), Nekhinskaya 55, 173000 Veliky Novgorod, Russia
2Ryazan Metal Ceramics Instrumentation Plant Joint Stock Company (RMCIP JSC), Novaya 51B, 390027 Ryazan, Russia
3Department of Industrial Electronics, Ryazan State Radio Engineering University (RSREU), Gagarin 59/1, 390005 Ryazan, Russia
4Centre for Physics and Technological Research (CEFITEC), Departamento de Física da Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FCT), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal

Received 17 December 2014; Accepted 23 February 2015

Academic Editor: Francesco Delogu

Copyright © 2015 I. A. Afinogenov et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We focus on the origin and sources of surface contamination and defects causing the failure of MEMS electrostatic switches. The morphology, and elemental and chemical compositions of the contacting surfaces, conducting paths, and other parts of switches have been characterized by means of SEM, EDXA, and XPS in order to understand the difference between the data collected for the devices that had passed the electrical conductivity test and those found to be defective. C, O, Al, Ca, Ti, Cu, and some other impurities were detected on the details of defective switches. Contrariwise, the working switches were found to be clean, at least on the level of EDXA and XPS sensitivity. The main sources of surface contamination and defects were incompletely deleted sacrificial layers, substrate materials, and electrolytes employed for Rh plating of the contacts. The negative influence of foreign microparticles, especially alumina and copper oxides, on the conductivity and porosity of contacts was highlighted.