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Title: Thermal MEMS actuator operation in aqueous media/seawater: Performance enhancement through atomic layer deposition post processing of PolyMUMPs devices

A method to enhance thermal microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) actuators in aqueous media by using dielectric encapsulation layers is presented. Aqueous media reduces the available mechanical energy of the thermal actuator through an electrical short between actuator structures. Al{sub 2}O{sub 3} and TiO{sub 2} laminates with various thicknesses were deposited on packaged PolyMUMPs devices to electrically separate the actuator from the aqueous media. Atomic layer deposition was used to form an encapsulation layer around released MEMS structures and the package. The enhancement was assessed by the increase of the elastic energy, which is proportional to the mechanical stiffness of the actuator and the displacement squared. The mechanical stiffness of the encapsulated actuators compared with the noncoated actuators was increased by factors ranging from 1.45 (for 45 nm Al{sub 2}O{sub 3} + 20 nm TiO{sub 2}) to 1.87 (for 90 nm Al{sub 2}O{sub 3} + 40 nm TiO{sub 2}). Displacement measurements were made for all laminate combinations in filtered tap water and seawater by using FFT based displacement measurement technique with a repeatability of ∼10 nm. For all laminate structures, the elastic energy increased and enhanced the actuator performance: In seawater, the mechanical output energy increased by factors ranging from 5 (for 90 nm Al{sub 2}O{sub 3}) tomore » 11 (for 90 nm Al{sub 2}O{sub 3} + 40 nm TiO{sub 2}). The authors also measured the long-term actuator stability/reliability in seawater. Samples were stored for 29 days in seawater and tested for 17 days in seawater. Laminates with TiO{sub 2} layers allowed constant operation over the entire measurement period.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ; ;  [2]
  1. Mechanical Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2X4 (Canada)
  2. Ultratech Inc., Waltham, Massachusetts 02453 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22392099
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology. A, Vacuum, Surfaces and Films; Journal Volume: 33; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: (c) 2014 American Vacuum Society; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 42 ENGINEERING; ACTUATORS; ALUMINIUM OXIDES; DIELECTRIC MATERIALS; DRINKING WATER; ENCAPSULATION; FLEXIBILITY; MEMS; PERFORMANCE; SEAWATER; TITANIUM OXIDES