RF MEMS switches offer significant performance advantages in high frequency RF applications. The switches are actuated by electrostatic force when voltage was applied to the electrodes. Such devices provide high isolation when open and low contact resistance when closed. However, during the packaging process, there are various possible failure modes that may affect the switch yield and performance. The RF MEMS switches were first placed in a package and went through lid seal at 320°C. The assembled packages were then attached to a printed circuit board at 220°C. During the process, some switches failed due to electrical shorting. More interestingly, more failures were observed at the lower temperature of 220°C rather than 320°C. The failure mode was associated with the shorting bar and the cantilever design. Finite element simulations and simplified analytical solutions were used to understand the mechanics driving the behaviors. Simulation results have shown excellent agreement with experimental observations and measurements. Various solutions in package configurations were explored to overcome the hurdles in MEMS packaging and achieve better yield and performance.

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