5THz Figure-of-Merit Phase Change RF Switches with 100 Million Switching Cycle Endurance

Modern mobile systems continue to expand to meet demands for reliable, high-data-rate operation in multiple frequency bands in 4G and upcoming 5G wireless networks. For instance, a 4G cellular RF front-end supports greater than 16 bands, 60 RF ports and 30 RF switches per RF port. Upcoming 5G mobile networks will expand into the higher frequency range (28GHz or higher) with massive multiple input- multiple-output (e.g., 64×8 MIMO) antennas, and will make RF front-ends much more complex and challenging. Low-loss, linear RF switches are integral parts of wireless RF front-ends for switching the antenna and filter, and tuning amplifiers, for example. Recently, phase change RF switches are emerging with 10x higher RF switch figure-of-merit, with improved reliability. In this talk, we present a record 100 million switching cycle endurance of phase-change material RF switches with refractory TiW heaters in a planar configuration. The RF switch FOM was 5THz, which is ~8 times better than state-of-the-art RF silicon-on-insulator technology. Based on the previously reported linearity and RF power handling, and with further optimization in layouts, phase-change material RF switches would be a potential candidate for future RF switch technology toward mm-wave and 5G applications.