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Influence of Heat, Force, and Secondary Factors on Electrical Contact Resistance in Microscale Gold Contacts

[+] Author Affiliations
Adam C. Frischknecht, Brian D. Jensen

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Paper No. IJTC2006-12293, pp. 1451-1457; 7 pages
  • STLE/ASME 2006 International Joint Tribology Conference
  • Part B: Magnetic Storage Tribology; Manufacturing/Metalworking Tribology; Nanotribology; Engineered Surfaces; Biotribology; Emerging Technologies; Special Symposia on Contact Mechanics; Special Symposium on Nanotribology
  • San Antonio, Texas, USA, October 23–25, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Tribology Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4259-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3789-0
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Micromechanical switches for RF communications often use gold as a contact material. While significant data exists for such contacts at contact forces larger than 200 mN and smaller 1 mN, little data exists at medium forces between these extremes. Moreover, previous studies have been unclear about the use of contact heating, particularly since voltages less than 100 mV can cause significant heating. This paper presents contact resistance data for both heated and unheated contacts with force from 0.01 to 1000 mN. Without heating, 1–10 mN of force is required to produce low, predictable resistance. However, with heating, forces as small as 0.05 mN produce low-resistance contacts, suggesting that contact heating is a valuable tool in removing insulating films and creating low-resistance, predictable contacts.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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