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Title: Fundamental mechanisms of micromachine reliability

Abstract

Due to extreme surface to volume ratios, adhesion and friction are critical properties for reliability of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), but are not well understood. In this LDRD the authors established test structures, metrology and numerical modeling to conduct studies on adhesion and friction in MEMS. They then concentrated on measuring the effect of environment on MEMS adhesion. Polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon) is the primary material of interest in MEMS because of its integrated circuit process compatibility, low stress, high strength and conformal deposition nature. A plethora of useful micromachined device concepts have been demonstrated using Sandia National Laboratories' sophisticated in-house capabilities. One drawback to polysilicon is that in air the surface oxidizes, is high energy and is hydrophilic (i.e., it wets easily). This can lead to catastrophic failure because surface forces can cause MEMS parts that are brought into contact to adhere rather than perform their intended function. A fundamental concern is how environmental constituents such as water will affect adhesion energies in MEMS. The authors first demonstrated an accurate method to measure adhesion as reported in Chapter 1. In Chapter 2 through 5, they then studied the effect of water on adhesion depending on the surface condition (hydrophilic or hydrophobic).more » As described in Chapter 2, they find that adhesion energy of hydrophilic MEMS surfaces is high and increases exponentially with relative humidity (RH). Surface roughness is the controlling mechanism for this relationship. Adhesion can be reduced by several orders of magnitude by silane coupling agents applied via solution processing. They decrease the surface energy and render the surface hydrophobic (i.e. does not wet easily). However, only a molecular monolayer coats the surface. In Chapters 3-5 the authors map out the extent to which the monolayer reduces adhesion versus RH. They find that adhesion is independent of RH up to a threshold value, depending on the coating chemistry. The mechanism for the adhesion increase beyond this threshold value is that the coupling agent reconfigures from a surface to a bulk phase (Chapter 3). To investigate the details of how the adhesion increase occurs, the authors developed the mechanics for adhesion hysteresis measurements. These revealed that near-crack tip compression is the underlying cause of the adhesion increase (Chapter 4). A vacuum deposition chamber for silane coupling agent deposition was constructed. Results indicate that vapor deposited coatings are less susceptible to degradation at high RH (Chapter 5). To address issues relating to surfaces in relative motion, a new test structure to measure friction was developed. In contrast to other surface micromachined friction test structures, uniform apparent pressure is applied in the frictional contact zone (Chapter 6). The test structure will enable friction studies over a large pressure and dynamic range. In this LDRD project, the authors established an infrastructure for MEMS adhesion and friction metrology. They then characterized in detail the performance of hydrophilic and hydrophobic films under humid conditions, and determined mechanisms which limit this performance. These studies contribute to a fundamental understanding for MEMS reliability design rules. They also provide valuable data for MEMS packaging requirements.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (US); Sandia National Labs., Livermore, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
US Department of Energy (US)
OSTI Identifier:
751346
Report Number(s):
SAND99-3100
TRN: AH200020%%135
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1 Jan 2000
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; MINIATURIZATION; HYBRID SYSTEMS; MICROELECTRONIC CIRCUITS; MECHANICAL STRUCTURES; ADHESION; FRICTION; MATHEMATICAL MODELS; RELIABILITY

Citation Formats

DE BOER, MAARTEN P, SNIEGOWSKI, JEFFRY J, KNAPP, JAMES A, REDMOND, JAMES M, MICHALSKE, TERRY A, and MAYER, THOMAS K. Fundamental mechanisms of micromachine reliability. United States: N. p., 2000. Web. doi:10.2172/751346.
DE BOER, MAARTEN P, SNIEGOWSKI, JEFFRY J, KNAPP, JAMES A, REDMOND, JAMES M, MICHALSKE, TERRY A, & MAYER, THOMAS K. Fundamental mechanisms of micromachine reliability. United States. doi:10.2172/751346.
DE BOER, MAARTEN P, SNIEGOWSKI, JEFFRY J, KNAPP, JAMES A, REDMOND, JAMES M, MICHALSKE, TERRY A, and MAYER, THOMAS K. Sat . "Fundamental mechanisms of micromachine reliability". United States. doi:10.2172/751346. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/751346.
@article{osti_751346,
title = {Fundamental mechanisms of micromachine reliability},
author = {DE BOER, MAARTEN P and SNIEGOWSKI, JEFFRY J and KNAPP, JAMES A and REDMOND, JAMES M and MICHALSKE, TERRY A and MAYER, THOMAS K},
abstractNote = {Due to extreme surface to volume ratios, adhesion and friction are critical properties for reliability of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), but are not well understood. In this LDRD the authors established test structures, metrology and numerical modeling to conduct studies on adhesion and friction in MEMS. They then concentrated on measuring the effect of environment on MEMS adhesion. Polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon) is the primary material of interest in MEMS because of its integrated circuit process compatibility, low stress, high strength and conformal deposition nature. A plethora of useful micromachined device concepts have been demonstrated using Sandia National Laboratories' sophisticated in-house capabilities. One drawback to polysilicon is that in air the surface oxidizes, is high energy and is hydrophilic (i.e., it wets easily). This can lead to catastrophic failure because surface forces can cause MEMS parts that are brought into contact to adhere rather than perform their intended function. A fundamental concern is how environmental constituents such as water will affect adhesion energies in MEMS. The authors first demonstrated an accurate method to measure adhesion as reported in Chapter 1. In Chapter 2 through 5, they then studied the effect of water on adhesion depending on the surface condition (hydrophilic or hydrophobic). As described in Chapter 2, they find that adhesion energy of hydrophilic MEMS surfaces is high and increases exponentially with relative humidity (RH). Surface roughness is the controlling mechanism for this relationship. Adhesion can be reduced by several orders of magnitude by silane coupling agents applied via solution processing. They decrease the surface energy and render the surface hydrophobic (i.e. does not wet easily). However, only a molecular monolayer coats the surface. In Chapters 3-5 the authors map out the extent to which the monolayer reduces adhesion versus RH. They find that adhesion is independent of RH up to a threshold value, depending on the coating chemistry. The mechanism for the adhesion increase beyond this threshold value is that the coupling agent reconfigures from a surface to a bulk phase (Chapter 3). To investigate the details of how the adhesion increase occurs, the authors developed the mechanics for adhesion hysteresis measurements. These revealed that near-crack tip compression is the underlying cause of the adhesion increase (Chapter 4). A vacuum deposition chamber for silane coupling agent deposition was constructed. Results indicate that vapor deposited coatings are less susceptible to degradation at high RH (Chapter 5). To address issues relating to surfaces in relative motion, a new test structure to measure friction was developed. In contrast to other surface micromachined friction test structures, uniform apparent pressure is applied in the frictional contact zone (Chapter 6). The test structure will enable friction studies over a large pressure and dynamic range. In this LDRD project, the authors established an infrastructure for MEMS adhesion and friction metrology. They then characterized in detail the performance of hydrophilic and hydrophobic films under humid conditions, and determined mechanisms which limit this performance. These studies contribute to a fundamental understanding for MEMS reliability design rules. They also provide valuable data for MEMS packaging requirements.},
doi = {10.2172/751346},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2000},
month = {1}
}