Skip to main content Accessibility help

Investigation of the Deposition and Integration of Hard Coatings for Moving MEMS Applications

  • P.M. Adams (a1), R.E. Robertson (a1), R.C. Cole (a1), D. Hinkley (a1) and G. Radhakrishnan (a2)...


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have been identified as a key technology for small-scale satellites, integrated sensors, and intelligent control systems. Using methods developed for highly integrated electronics, mechanical components are co-fabricated on planar wafers and subsequently etched free for mechanical movements in three dimensions. A major design limitation for these systems is their inability to withstand prolonged sliding surface contact. The fundamental problem is that the surface properties of silicon and poly-silicon, two of the most widely used materials for MEMS, are highly unsuitable for moving MEMS devices, resulting in high wear during operation. This work explores the feasibility and benefits of depositing thin, wear-resistant, low-friction coatings on silicon or poly-silicon. To achieve this goal, three-dimensional test silicon microstructures have been fabricated. Wear-resistant titanium carbide (TiC) coatings are deposited on these test structures using a novel non-line-of-sight pulsed laser deposition (PLD) process. In parallel, this paper addresses the integration of the TiC coating directly into the MEMS fabrication processes and its compatibility with standard silicon processing.



Hide All
1. Tai, Y.-C. and Muller, R.S., Sensors and Actuators 20, 41 (1989).10.1016/0250-6874(89)87101-X
2. Howe, R.T., Muller, R.S., Gabriel, K.J., and Trimmer, W.S. N., IEEE Spectrum 27, 29 (1990).
3. Tai, Y.-C. and Muller, R.S., Sensors and Actuators A21-A23, 180 (1990).
4. Komvopoulos, K., Wear 200, 305 (1996).10.1016/S0043-1648(96)07328-0
5. Maboudian, R. and Howe, R.T., J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 15, 1 (1997).
6. Mastrangelo, C. H., Tribology Lett. 3, 223 (1997).10.1023/A:1019133222401
7. Deng, K., Collins, R. J., Mehregany, M., and Sukenik, C.N., J. Electrochem. Soc. 142, 1278 (1995).
8. Houston, M.R., Howe, R.T., Komvopolous, K., and Maboudian, R., Mat. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. 383, 391 (1995).
9. Mehregany, M., Zorman, C.A., Rajan, N., and Wu, C.H., Proc. IEEE 86, 1594 (1998).10.1109/5.704265
10. Rajan, N., Zorman, C.A., Mehregany, M., DeAnna, R., and Harvey, R.J., Surf. And Coat. Technol. 108–109, 391 (1998).
11. Chandrashekar, S. and Bhushan, B., Wear 153, 79 (1992).10.1016/0043-1648(92)90262-7
12. Gardos, M.N. in Protective Coatings and Thin Films: Synthesis, Characterization, and Applications, edited by Pauleau, Y. and Barna, P.B. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997), pp. 185196.
13. Boving, H.J., Hintermann, H.E., Stehle, G., Lubrication Engineering 39, 209 (1983).
14. Veit, A., Chandler, D.P., Proc. 1st European Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symp. ESA SP 196, 27 (1983).
15. Radhakrishnan, G., Adams, P.M., and Taylor, A., in Surface Engineering: Science and Technology I, edited by Kumar, A., Cheung, Y-W., Moore, J.J., and Smugeresky, J.E., (TMS, Pennsylvania, 1999), pp. 155164.
16. Radhakrishnan, G., Adams, P.M., and Speckman, D.M., in Laser Applications in Microelectronic and Optoelectronic Manufacturing IV, edited by Dubowski, J., Helvajian, H., Kreuz, E.W., and Sugioka, K., Proc. SPIE 3618, 487 (1999).
17. Radhakrishnan, G. and Adams, P.M., Appl. Phys. A 69, S33 (1999).
18. Radhakrishnan, G., Adams, P.M., and Speckman, D.M., Thin Solid Films 358, 131 (2000).
19. Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 80th ed., Ed. by Lide, David R. (CRC, 1999), pp. 492.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed