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Proceedings Paper

Fabrication of microgaps in electroplated metallic structures for MEMS
Author(s): Qingzhou Xu; Mark Bachman; Guann-pyng Li
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Paper Abstract

High aspect ratio micro-gaps are important for electrostatically and electromagnetically transforming forces in movable parts of MEMS. In this paper, three methods based on common UV photolithography are presented to achieve micro-gaps in electroplated permalloy alloy structures. The first method uses an electroplated photoresist PEPR coating as a sacrificial layer. The electrodeposition of photoresist can produce a resist coating of consistent thickness over complex shapes. The micro-gap is realized after the photoresist coating between two electroplated metallic components is removed. This method has been used to produce a gap of 5 mm in a 50 mm thick metallic structure. The second method is used electroplated copper as a sacrificial layer. This method has been demonstrated to produce a 3 mm wide gap in a 50 mm thick metallic structure. The last method uses SU-8 molds whose molecular cross-links are intentionally controlled. After electroplating, the SU-8 molds are completely stripped. This method has been used to produce a 15 mm gap in a 50 mm thick metallic structure. For the three methods above, movable parts can be obtained by removing the underneath sacrificial layers. Compared to DRIE and LIGA, the present approaches enable the inexpensive fabrication of micro-gaps in metallic structures for a variety of MEMS devices such as microsensors, microactuators and microswitches.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 July 2002
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4700, Smart Structures and Materials 2002: Smart Electronics, MEMS, and Nanotechnology, (11 July 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.475032
Show Author Affiliations
Qingzhou Xu, Univ. of California/Irvine (China)
Mark Bachman, Univ. of California/Irvine (United States)
Guann-pyng Li, Univ. of California/Irvine (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4700:
Smart Structures and Materials 2002: Smart Electronics, MEMS, and Nanotechnology
Vijay K. Varadan, Editor(s)

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