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Proceedings Paper

Laser annealing for high-Q MEMS resonators
Author(s): Keith L. Aubin; Maxim Zalalutdinov; Robert B. Reichenbach; Brian H. Houston; Alan T. Zehnder; Jeevak M. Parpia; Harold G. Craighead
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Paper Abstract

High frequency and high quality factor, Q, (defined as a half-width of the resonant peak) are the key factors that determine applications of microelectromechanical (MEMS) oscillators for supersensitive force detection or as elements for radio frequency signal processing. By shrinking the dimensions of MEMS resonators to the sub-micron range one increases the resonant frequency of the devices. Shrinking the devices, however, also increases the surface-to-volume ratio leading to a significant degradation of the quality factor (to below 5,000) due to the increased contribution of surface-related losses. We demonstrate that local annealing performed by focused low-power laser beams can improve the quality factor of MEMS resonators by more than an order of magnitude, which we attribute to the alteration of the surface state. Quality factors over 150,000 were achieved after laser annealing 3.1 MHz disc-type oscillators (radius R=10 micrometers, thickness h=0.25 micrometer) compared with a Q=6,000 for the as-fabricated device. The mushroom-type design of our resonator (a single-crystal silicon disc supported by a thin silicon dioxide pillar at the center) provides low heat loss and also confines the electron-hole gas created by laser excitation, enhancing light absorption. The combined power of a red HeNe laser (Pred=4mW) and a blue Ar+ ion laser (Pblue=5mW) focused on the periphery of the mushroom provides enough energy for surface modification. The post-treatment quality factor, exceeding 100,000 for MHz-range resonators, boosts the performance of MEMS to be comparable to that of lower frequency single-crystal quartz devices. The local nature of laser annealing, safe for surrounding electronics, is a crucial element for integration of MEMS resonators into an integrated circuit environment.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 April 2003
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 5116, Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS, (24 April 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.499109
Show Author Affiliations
Keith L. Aubin, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Maxim Zalalutdinov, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Robert B. Reichenbach, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Brian H. Houston, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Alan T. Zehnder, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Jeevak M. Parpia, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Harold G. Craighead, Cornell Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5116:
Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS
Jung-Chih Chiao; Vijay K. Varadan; Carles Cané, Editor(s)

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