Polymer based microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) micromachining is finding more interest in research and applications. This is due to its low cost and less time processing compared with silicon MEMS. SU-8 is a photo-patternable polymer that is used as a structural layer for MEMS and microfluidic devices. In addition to being processed with low cost, it is a biocompatible material with good mechanical properties. Also, amorphous silicon (α-Si) has found use as a sacrificial layer in silicon MEMS applications. α-Si can be deposited at large thicknesses for MEMS applications and also can be released in a dry method using XeF2 which can solve stiction problems related to MEMS applications. In this thesis, an SU-8 MEMS process is developed using amorphous silicon (α-Si) as a sacrificial layer. Electrostatic actuation and sensing is used in many MEMS applications. SU-8 is a dielectric material which limits its direct use in electrostatic actuation. This thesis provides a MEMS process with two conductive metal electrodes that can be used for out-of-plane electrostatic applications like MEMS switches and variable capacitors. The process provides the fabrication of dimples that can be conductive or non-conductive to facilitate more flexibility for MEMS designers. This SU-8 process can fabricate SU-8 MEMS structures of a single layer of two different thicknesses. Process parameters were tuned for two sets of thicknesses which are thin (5-10μm) and thick (130μm).
Chevron bent-beam structures and different suspended beams (cantilevers and bridges) were fabricated to characterize the SU-8 process through extracting the density, Young’s Modulus and the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE) of SU-8. Also, the process was tested and used as an educational tool through which different MEMS structures were fabricated including MEMS switches, variable capacitors and thermal actuators.
|Date of Award||Apr 2012|
|Original language||English (US)|
- Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
|Supervisor||Ian Foulds (Supervisor)|
- SU-8 MEMS
- Electrostatic Actuation
- α-Si sacrificial layer