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Proceedings Paper

Polymers: an excellent and increasingly used material for microsystems
Author(s): Peter Bley
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Paper Abstract

Microsystems, whose main components are made of polymers, have meanwhile found a firm place in microsystems technology, both as important niche products and as bulk commodities. A large number of structuring techniques are available, on the one hand, for primary structuring (electron beam, UV and X-ray lithography, laser patterning, stereo lithography, etc.) and, on the other hand, as replication techniques for low-cost mass production (reactive injection molding, thermoplastic injection molding, hot embossing techniques, etc.). Microstructures made of polymers may be clearly cheaper to manufacture than those made of any other material. Besides polymers structured on a micrometer scale, also membranes made of polymers are becoming increasingly more important in microsystems technology. The development of microstructure technology with the use of polymers began at what is now Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe Research Center) in the early eighties. The development of both, deep X-ray lithography and various molding techniques (LIGA) process started back then already. The large variety of possible uses will be shown by examples of developments originating from Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. These mainly comprise micro- optics (lenses, distance sensors, spectrometers, micro-optical benches, etc.), microfluidics (capillaries for 'labs on chip,' polymer membranes as basis for pumps, valves, pressure sensors, flow sensors, and separating systems), and actuators based on selectively inflatable chambers. Another example for the possible application of polymers in microsystems is their use as functional coating for electrochemical transducers [e.g. surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors].

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 August 1999
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 3876, Micromachined Devices and Components V, (31 August 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.360493
Show Author Affiliations
Peter Bley, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3876:
Micromachined Devices and Components V
Patrick J. French; Eric Peeters, Editor(s)

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