DelfMEMS, an emerging player in the field of RF components and developer of MEMS switching solutions, announced this week that it has secured $1.9 million in venture capital funds. This investment comes from A2D Invest, Alliansys, Finorpa, Inovam, Rhône-Alpes-Création, as well as business angels and will be used for delivering stand-alone component products for instrumentation and defense as well as creating partnerships for integration into mobile phone front-end modules.
Other companies working on ohmic RF MEMS switches include Analog Devices, Radant MEMS, Panasonic, Omron, Baolab, RFMD and Ommic. Startup company TeraVicta was also working on RF MEMS swiches, but went out of business in 2008.
DelfMEMS main design is based on high isolation, large restoring forces (stiction & hot switching) with a controlled actuation voltage.
Alternative, non-MEMS technologies for switching include SoS, SOI and GaAs switches. These tend to be cost effective, but for some specific applications (such reconfigurable front-end), MEMS are the only viable solution due to MEMS ability to deliver low insertion losses, linearity and high isolation.
DelfMEMS ohmic RF MEMS switch. Stoppers allow to have an anchorless MEMS supported by pillars, enabling leverage effect. Push-pull induces high restoring force and high deflection with a small gap for low actuation voltage. Anchorless MEMS enable very fast switch (<20µs @ 12V, <1µs @ 35V).
DelfMEMS is developing a new integrated MEMS-enabled building block that is based on the company’s IP portfolio; the device reportedly solves past issues and substantially improves hot switching behavior, switching time (<1μs), and power consumption (12V actuation voltage, electrostatic). ''DelfMEMS’ technology enables its customers to increase bandwidth while minimizing cost, size, and consumption,” explains Olivier Millet, CEO of DelfMEMS. “These funds will enable us to develop dedicated thin film packaging that offers the full benefits of the DelfMEMS technology and complete integration at a lower cost.''
Profile of the anchorless flexible membrane. Two sets of electrodes are used to enable on/off states. Pillars are used to generate high leverage effect to avoid stiction. Control of both sets allows to drastically reduce bouncing.
DelfMEMS reports that it is currently engaged in discussions with over 50 companies and is signing its initial co-development contracts for various applications.
“We are extremely impressed with DelfMEMS’s disruptive technology,” states Mathieu Viallard, investment officer, Rhône-Alpes Création. “We anticipate that it will achieve the highest technical standards required for the tunable module market,” he adds.
DelfMEMS believes in close collaboration with VCs to maximize benefits for all parties. Finorpa, Inovam & Nord Création, the earlier investors in DelfMEMS, actively work with the management team and believe that DelfMEMS will become a leading player in the MEMS field. “DelfMEMS’ innovative proposition and technological milestones demonstrate their ability to deliver future quality products,” says Thierry Chevallier, Investment Director, Finorpa. “The recent capital increase will help in achieving the product roadmap and securing clients for DelfMEMS’ technology.”
DelfMEMS was founded in 2005 by Olivier Millet (CEO) and Karim Segueni (CTO). The company’s R&D team developed the DimSYS anchorless MEMS technology. Production at a 6'' silicon foundry started in 2007, where a proven postprocessing of MEMS is done on top of CMOS or integrated passive device (IPD).
Based on its MEMS IP, DelfMEMS believes that it is in a position to extend its technology to variable capacitors, relays, optical devices, memory components, and sensors. The RF MEMS switch technology developed by DelfMEMS enables their customers to design systems such as reconfigurable power amplifiers, tunable filters, adaptive matching networks for antennas, agile transceivers and other components. Potential customer segments include automatic test equipment manufacturers, RF front-end modules manufacturers, semiconductor industry, telecom infrastructure component providers and others.
Copyright 2010 MEMS Investor Journal, Inc.