Multi by Patents-114


The present invention generally relates to electromechanical switches, and more particularly relates to micro electromechanical switches that have multiple stable states.BACKGROUND Switches are commonly found in most modern electrical and electronic devices to selectively place electrical, optical and/or other signals onto desired signal paths. Switches may be used to enable or disable certain components or circuitsoperating within a system, for example, or may be used to route communications signals from a sender to a receiver. Electromechanical switches in particular are often found in medical, industrial, aerospace, consumer electronics and other settings. In recent years, advances in micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) and other technologies have enabled new generations of electromechanical switches that are extremely small (e.g. on the order of micrometers, or 10.sup.-6 meters) in size. Because many micro switches can be fabricated on a single wafer or substrate, elaborate switching circuits may be constructed within a relatively small physical space. Although it would generally be desirable to include such tiny electromagneticswitches in medical devices (e.g. pacemakers, defibrillators, etc.) and other applications, several disadvantages have prevented widespread use in many products and environments. Most notably, many conventional micro electromechanical switches consumetoo much power for practical use in demanding environments, such as in a device that is implanted within a human body. Moreover, difficulties often arise in isolating the switch actuation signal from the transmitted signal in such environments. Further, the amount of energy (e.g. electrical voltage) typically required to actuate a conventional electromechanical switch may be too great for many practical applications, particularly in the medical field. Accordingly, it is desirable to create a micro electromechanical switch that consumes a relatively low amount of power, and that can b

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