The assignee for this patent, patent number 8648268, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Most electronic circuits include one or more switching mechanisms to selectively route electrical signals to different components in the circuit. Such switching mechanisms are most often solid state, transistor-based switches, electro-mechanical devices, such as relays, or purely mechanical switches that are moved by hand. While such switches work well for relatively low frequency signals, more sophisticated mechanisms are required as the frequency of the electrical signals to be switched extends into the Gigahertz range.
"When switching high frequency signals such as microwave signals, the switch must be carefully designed to avoid any unnecessary reflections of the signals and losses in the signal path. For example, commonly used microwave switches typically have a number of solenoid driven contact pads that are mounted on the ends of plastic rods. The contact pads are selectively lifted from, or placed onto, a circuit board in order to break or make an electrical connection. Each contact pad is a precision made machined part that springs when it is flexed so that the contact pad is somewhat self-cleaning. The precision with which the parts of such a switch design must be made makes this type of switch design very expensive to manufacture. Furthermore, it is very difficult to balance the cleaning action of the contact (through micro-machining, hand adjustments or lubricants) against contact wear. Long life of the contact (more than ten million operations) or guaranteed first time operation are hard to achieve and are often not met. Finally, such switches can have relatively low isolation due to the capacitive connection created when the contact is lifted a short distance from the circuit board.
"Given these problems and others, there is a need for an improved electrical switching system that can be used with microwave or other signals."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "The technology described herein relates to electronic switches and in particular to switches that can switch high frequency microwave signals. In one embodiment, a switch includes a rotatable contact that is selectively aligned with one of a number of conductors such as a microstrip line. The rotatable contact is moved with a pair of motors that programmably lift the contact from the printed circuit board, rotate the contact to a desired position and lower the contact in the desired position. The motors can also move the contact once it is in place on the circuit board to clean the contact.
"In one embodiment, the contact is secured to a rod. The rod is rotated about its longitudinal axis by a first stepper motor and is moved back and forth along its length by a second stepper motor. Movement by the second stepper motor allows the contact to be placed on the printed circuit board with an adjustable pressure. The pressure is adjustable to compensate for life of the contact, wear, machining tolerances or to ensure operation.
"This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify key features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter."
For more information, see this patent: Ashcroft, Mark. Electro-Mechanical Microwave Switch. U.S. Patent Number 8648268, filed
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Circuit Board,
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