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Electronically switching latching micro-magnetic relay and method of operating same

Imported: 23 Feb '17 | Published: 22 Oct '02

Meichun Ruan, Jun Shen

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

According to various embodiments of the invention, a relay is suitably formed to exhibit an open state and a closed state. The relay is operated by providing a cantilever sensitive to magnetic fields such that the cantilever exhibits a first state corresponding to the open state of the relay and a second state corresponding to the closed state of the relay. A first magnetic field may be provided to induce a magnetic torque in the cantilever, and the cantilever may be switched between the first state and the second state with a second magnetic field that may be generated by, for example, a conductor formed on a substrate with the relay.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The above and other features and advantages of the present invention are hereinafter described in the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments to be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures, wherein like reference numerals are used to identify the same or similar parts in the similar views, and:

FIG. 1A is a side view of an exemplary embodiment of a latching relay;

FIG. 1B is a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a latching relay;

FIGS. 2A-H are side views showing an exemplary technique for manufacturing a latching relay;

FIG. 3A is a side view of a second exemplary embodiment of a latching relay;

FIG. 3B is a top view of a second exemplary embodiment of a latching relay;

FIG. 3C is a perspective view of an exemplary cantilever suitable for use with the second exemplary embodiment of a latching relay;

FIG. 4A is a side view of a third exemplary embodiment of a latching relay;

FIG. 4B is a top view of a third exemplary embodiment of a latching relay;

FIGS. 4C and 4D are perspective view s of exemplary cantilevers suitable for use with the third exemplary embodiment of a latching relay; and

FIG. 5 is a side view of a fourth exemplary embodiment of a latching relay.

Claims

1. A relay having an open state and a closed state, the relay comprising:

2. The relay of claim 1 wherein said coil and said cantilever are formed on a substrate.

3. The relay of claim 2 wherein said magnet is provided proximate to said substrate.

4. The relay of claim 1 wherein the magnitude of said second magnetic field is smaller than the magnitude of said first magnetic field.

5. The relay of claim 1 wherein said coil is configured to produce said second electromagnetic field as a current flows through said coil.

6. The relay of claim 5 wherein said coil is configured such that the direction of said torque is determined by the direction of said current flowing in said coil.

7. A relay having an open state and a closed state, the relay comprising:

8. A relay of claim 7 wherein said cantilever is switched between said first and second positions by varying the direction of a current flowing in said electromagnet.

9. A relay of claim 8 wherein the magnitude of said second magnetic field is less than the magnitude of said first magnetic field.

10. A relay of claim 8 wherein said cantilever comprises first and second hinges coupled to a substrate, wherein said hinges are configured to facilitate movement between said first and second positions of said cantilever.

11. A relay of claim 10 wherein said substrate is located proximate to said magnet.

12. A relay having open and closed states corresponding to first and second states of a cantilever, respectively, wherein said cantilever comprises a magnetically sensitive material and a longitudinal axis such that said cantilever is sensitive to magnetic fields, said relay comprising:

13. The relay of claim 12 wherein said component of said second magnetic field is selectively applied in a first direction and a second direction corresponding to said first and second states of said cantilever, respectively.

14. The relay of claim 13 wherein said affecting step comprises realigning the magnetization of said cantilever with said component to adjust the direction of said cantilever.

15. The relay of claim 12 wherein said magnetically sensitive material comprises permalloy.

16. The relay of claim 15 wherein said first and second magnetic fields are applied external to said magnetically-sensitive material.

17. The relay of claim 14 wherein said first magnetic field is produced by a permanent mast.

18. The relay of claim 17 wherein said second magnetic field is produced by a current flowing through an electromagnet in a first or second direction corresponding to said first or second states of said conductor, respectively.

19. The relay of claim 12 wherein said cantilever remains in said first and second states when said second magnetic field is discontinued such that said relay is a latching relay.

20. The relay of claim 12 wherein said relay is a bi-stable latching relay.

21. The relay of claim 1 wherein said reply is a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) device.

22.The relay of claim 7 wherein said reply is a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) device.

23. The relay of claim 12 wherein said reply is a micro-electromechanical system