Finite element modeling of nickel oxide film for Au-Ni contact of MEMS switches

Abstract : Contamination and oxidation are inevitable in contact surfaces, especially for micro contact under low load (μN- mN). They are considered as major causes for a high contact resistance, and can lead to the failure of a contact. However, as the film formation is complicated, also it is difficult to accurately observe and measure them, the characterization of the films is not well known. In the paper, a finite element model of nickel oxide film is developed for Au-Ni contact of MEMS switches. Considering the fact that the electrical contact area is only a portion of the mechanical contact area, a model featured ‘nano-spots’ is developed: multiple small conductive spots are scattered in a big mechanical contact asperity, and ultrathin oxide film is around the nano-spots. The size of electrical spots and mechanical asperity is calculated based on the measured electrical resistance and mechanical contact modeling respectively. The simulations results show a good match with the experimental results. This model allows us to determine some possible geometry configuration that leads to the measured contact resistance in real devices.
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Hong Liu, Dimitri Leray, Stéphane Colin, Patrick Pons. Finite element modeling of nickel oxide film for Au-Ni contact of MEMS switches. 61st IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts, Oct 2015, San Diego, United States. ⟨hal-01237433⟩

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