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Proceedings Paper

Three-dimensional silicon microcomponents manufactured by microelectrodischarge machining
Author(s): Dominiek Reynaerts; Hendrik Van Brussel
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Paper Abstract

Currently, nearly all microcomponents are fabricated by microelectronic production technologies like etching, deposition and other (photo)lithographic techniques. In this way, main emphasis has been put on surface micromechanics. The major challenges for the future will be the development of real 3D microstructures. Electro-discharge machining (EDM) is a so-called non-conventional machining technique, whereby material is removed through the erosive action of electrical discharges provided by a generator. As shown in this paper, electro-discharge machining proves to be a versatile technique which is very well suited for machining complex microstructures. First, an overview of the applicability of micro electro-discharge machining for manufacturing silicon micromechanical parts is given. Also the machine on which these structures were made is introduced. The main advantages of micro-EDM are its low installation cost, high accuracy and large design freedom. Micro-EDM can indeed easily machine complex 3D shapes that prove difficult for etching techniques. Next, the appropriate setting of the machining parameters in order to keep the material removal on the tool electrode at least an order of magnitude smaller than the material removal on the workpiece electrode are discussed. Micro-EDM requires electrodes as a tool A reliable method for producing these electrodes, with custom shape and small sizes is also presented. The primary applications of micro-EDM are in rapid prototyping and products with small batchsizes. However, the technique is versatile enough to be adapted to large series. Several examples are given of the possibilities of micro-EDM: an electric force motor, micromirrors at any angle with respect to the wafer plane, an acceleration sensor, and micro bevel and spur gears.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 September 1997
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 3224, Micromachined Devices and Components III, (5 September 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.284535
Show Author Affiliations
Dominiek Reynaerts, Katholieke Univ. Leuven (Belgium)
Hendrik Van Brussel, Katholieke Univ. Leuven (Belgium)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3224:
Micromachined Devices and Components III
Kevin H. Chau; Patrick J. French, Editor(s)

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