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This article summarizes the most recent technological developments in the realization of integrated aluminum nitride (AlN) piezoelectric microelectromechanical system (MEMS) for radio frequency (rf) front ends to be employed in next generation wireless communication devices. The AlN-based resonator and switch technologies are presented, their principle of operation explained, and some key experimental achievements showing device operations between 20 MHz and 10 GHz are introduced. Fundamental material, device, and fabrication aspects that needed to be taken into account for the demonstration of the first integrated rf MEMS solution based on the combination of AlN MEMS resonators and switches are highlighted. Given the ability to operate over a broad range of frequencies on a single silicon chip, the AlN MEMS technology is extremely attractive for the demonstration of reconfigurable and multiband rf transceivers. Next generation rf architectures that take advantage of large scale integration of AlN MEMS resonators and switches are briefly presented.
Date Posted: 22 December 2010
This document has been peer reviewed.