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Systems
Unit2
Engineering Mechanics for
Microsystems
Materials for MEMS
Engineering Mechanics
• Involves both solid & fluid mechanics and is
the base of the mechanical design of
Microsystems.
• Mechanics is a branch of Engineering that
studies the relationship between the applied
forces and the resulting motions.
• The motion in a microsystem can be either
rigid body motion or deformation of solids.
• Solid mechanics is also applied to microsystem
packaging.
• Fluid mechanics is involved in the design of
microvalves and microfluidics.
• Many times idealised loading and geometry
are not sufficient for analysis in microsystems.
• In such cases numerical techniques like
computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite
element methods are used.
• Heattransfer methods for microsystems are
also modified versions of macro systems.
Common Geometry of MEMS Components
• Beams:
Microrelays, gripping arms in a micro tong,
beam spring in micro accelerometers
• Plates:
Diaphragms in pressure sensors, platespring
in microaccelerometers etc
Bending induced deformation generates
signals for sensors and relays using beams &
plates
• Tubes:
Capillary tubes in microfluidic network
systems with electrokinetic pumping
(e.g. electroosmosis and electrophoresis)
• Channels:
Channels of square, rectangular, trapezoidal
crosssections in microfluidic network.
• Component geometry unique to MEMS and
microsystems:
Multilayers with thin films of dissimilar
materials
• Following notations are used :
• 1 Newton is the force required to give 1 Kg of
mass an acceleration of 1 m/s
2
.
Since 1 Kg of mass has a weight of 9.81 N, 1 Kg
force = 9.81 Ns
• 1 Pascal (Pa) = 1 N/m
2
(Unit for pressure).
Static bending of thin plates
• The differential equation for the deflection of
a rectangular plate subject to lateral bending
is given as
(2)
where w = w(x,y) is the lateral deflection of
the plate due to application of uniformly
distributed pressure p.
xy plane defines the plate.
D = the flexural
rigidity of the plate (3)
E = Young’s modulus
ν = Poisson’s ratio
h = thickness of the plate
D
p
y
w
x
w
y x
=


.

\

c
c
+
c
c


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
) 1 ( 12
2
2
v ÷
=
Eh
D
• The components of bending moments are
computed from the deflection w(x,y) as the
solution to (2).
• The bending moments are
(4a)
(4b)
(4c)
• The bending stresses are
(5a)


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
÷ =
2
2
2
2
y
w
x
w
D M
x
v


.

\

c
c
+
c
c
÷ =
2
2
2
2
x
w
y
w
D M
y
v
( )
y x
w
D M
xy
c c
c
÷ ÷ =
2
1 v
2
max
max
) ( 6
) (
h
M
x
xx
= o
(5b)
(5c)
• Bending of circular plate with edge fixed
• A plate with thickness h and radius a deflected
by a uniform pressure p.
• The maximum radial stress at the edge
(6a)
2
max
max
) ( 6
) (
h
M
y
yy
= o
2
max
max
) ( 6
) (
h
M
xy
xy
= o
2
max
4
3
) (
h
W
rr
t
o =
• Maximum loop (tangential) stress at the edge
(6b)
• At center of the plate
(6c)
2
max
4
3
) (
h
W
t
v
o
uu
=
2
8
3
h
W
rr
t
v
o o
uu
= =
• The maximum deflection at the center is
(6d)
where W = (πa
2
)p and m = 1/ν
The negative sign indicates the downward
deflection.
• Ex : Determine the minimum thickness of the
circular diaphragm of a micropressure sensor
of Si with a dia of 600 μm and edges fixed to
the silicon die. It can with stand a pressure of
3 2
2 2
max
16
) 1 ( 3
h Em
a m W
w
t
÷
÷ =
20MPa with plastic yielding strength of 7000
MPa. It has a Young’s modulus of 190000 MPa
and a Poisson’s ratio of 0.25.
• The thickness of the plate is given by (6a & b)
• The maximum stress has to be less than the
plastic yielding strength.
• As Poisson’s ratio is = 0.25 < 1, the first
equation has to be used to determine h.
Equivalent load
W = 3.14 x (300x10
6
)2 x (20x10
6
) = 5.652 N
So h = 13.887 x 10
6
m = 13.887 μm
The maximum deflection of the diaphragm is
w
max
= 55.97 μm
max
) ( 4
3
rr
W
h
o t
=
max
) ( 4
3
uu
o t
vW
h =
Bending of rectangular plates with all edges
fixed
• The plate is of length a and width b with a
thickness of h
• The maximum stress occurs at the center of
longer edge
(7a)
• The maximum deflection at the centroid is
(7b)
2
2
max
) (
h
pb
yy
 o =
2
4
max
Eh
pb
w o ÷ =
where the coefficients are given as
a/b 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2 ∞
α
0.0138 0.0188 0.0226 0.0251 0.0267 0.0277 0.0284
β
0.3078 0.3834 0.4356 0.4680 0.4872 0.4974 0.5
• Ex : A rectangular diaphragm of size 752 μm x
376 μm x 13.887 μm thick and edges fixed to
the silicon die. It has a plastic yielding strength
of 7000 MPa and the applied pressure is 20
MPa. It has a Young’s modulus of 190000 MPa
and a Poisson’s ratio of 0.25. Determine the
maximum stress and deflection of diaphragm.
• a/b = 2 and hence α = 0.0277 & β = 0.4974
• Maximum stress from (7a) is
Pa
h
pb
yy
6
2
2
max
10 8 . 7292 ) ( × = =  o
which is greater than the plastic yielding
strength  unsafe design.
The maximum deflection is given by (7b)
which is less than that of the circular diaphragm.
• Bending of square plates with all edges fixed
• Equate a = b in the case of rectangular plate.
• The maximum stress occurs at the center of
each edge.
m
Eh
pb
w
6
2
4
max
10 76 . 21
÷
× ÷ = ÷ = o
(8a)
• Maximum deflection occurs at the center of
the plate.
(8b)
2
2
max
308 . 0
h
pa
= o
3
4
max
0138 . 0
Eh
pa
w ÷ =
• The stress at the center of the plate is
(8c)
• Ex : A square diaphragm with 532 μm edge
and 13.887 μm thick is subjected a pressure of
20 MPa and edges fixed to the silicon die. It
has a plastic yielding strength of 7000 MPa,
Young’s modulus of 190000 MPa and Poisson’s
ratio of 0.25. Determine the maximum stress
and deflection of diaphragm.
2
2
47
) 1 ( 6
mh
a m p +
= o
• The maximum stress is given by (8a)
and is much greater than the yield strength –
unsafe design.
• The maximum deflection of the diaphragm is
• Though all three examples had same area,
thickness and pressure, the maximum
deflections & stress varied.
Pa
h
pa
6
2
2
max
10 9040
308 . 0
× = = o
m
Eh
pa
w
6
3
4
max
10 43
0138 . 0
÷
× ÷ = ÷ =
• Ex :
Determine the maximum stress and deflection
in a square diaphragm used in a micro
pressure sensor as shown in the figure. The
maximum applied pressure is p = 70 MPa.
• By using the formulas for square plates, we
get:
Pa
h
pa
6
2
2
max
10 81 . 186
308 . 0
× = = o
m
Eh
pa
w
6
3
4
max
10 10153 . 0
0138 . 0
÷
× ÷ = ÷ =
Mechanical Vibration Analysis
• Mechanical vibration principle is used in the
design of microaccelerometer which is a
common MEMS device for measuring forces
induced by moving devices.
• Microaccelerometers are used as the sensors
in automobile air bag deployment systems.
(a) Free vibration: (b) Damped vibration:
(c) Forced vibration:
• Circular frequency:
• Natural frequency:
• X(t) = instantaneous position of the mass or
the displacement of the mass at time t.
m
k
= e
t
e
2
= f
• X(t) is the solution to the differential equation
of motion with C
1
and C
2
being constants.
Case (a) :
(9)
Case (b) :
λ > ω
λ = ω
(10a, 10b, 10c) λ < ω
) sin( ) cos( ) (
2 1
t C t C t X e e + =
) ( ) (
2 2 2 2
2 1
e ì e ì ì ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷
+ =
t t t
e C e C e t X
) ( ) (
2 1
t C C e t X
t
+ =
÷ì
) sin cos ( ) (
2 2
2
2 2
1
ì e ì e
ì
÷ + ÷ =
÷
t C t C e t X
t
• 10a, 10b & 10c refer to Over damping, Critical
damping and Under damping coditions
respectively.
• Case (c) : (11a)
In a special case when α = ω results in
resonant vibration and
(11b)
) sin sin (
) (
) (
2 2
0
t t
F
t X o e e o
o e e
+ ÷
÷
=
t t
F
t
F
t X e
e
e
e
cos
2
sin
2
) (
0
2
0
÷ =
• EX :
Determine the amplitude and frequency of
vibration of a 10mg mass attached to two
springs as shown in the figure. The mass can
vibrate freely without friction between the
rollers and the supporting floor. Assume that
the springs have same spring constant k = 6 x
10
5
N/m in both tension and compression.
The vibration begins with the mass being
pulled to the right by a distance of 5 μm (as
induced by acceleration or deceleration).
• The mass in motion is subjected to two spring
forces:
One force by stretching the spring (F
1
=k
1
x) +
the other by compressing (F
2
= k
2
x).
k
1
= k
2
= k & F
1
= F
2
This is the situation is called “Vibration with
balanced force”
• The spring force in this case is twice the value.
• The initial conditions are X(0) = 5 μm and
(zero initial velocity)
• From (9), the constants are indicated by the
initial conditions and C
1
= 5 μm and C
2
= 0
• Hence the solution is X(t) = 5 cos ωt μm
• Maximum displacement = 5 μm
• Circular frequency ω = √2k/m = 3.464 rad/s
0
) (
0
=
= t
dt
t dX
Microaccelerometers
• Micro accelerometers are used to measure
the acceleration (or deceleration) of a moving
solid (e.g. a device or a vehicle).
• Relate the acceleration to the associated
dynamic force using Newton’s 2nd law:
F(t) = M a(t)
where M = mass of the moving solid and
a(t) = the acceleration at time t.
• An accelerator requires a proof mass (m), a
spring (k) and damping medium (c) in which k
= spring constant and c = damping coefficient.
• Design Theory of Accelerometers
• In a realworld application, the accelerometer
is attached to a moving solid.
• The amplitude of the vibrating proof mass in
the accelerometer may not necessarily be in
phase with the amplitude of vibration of the
moving solid (the base).
• x(t) = the amplitude of vibration of the base
Assume x(t) = X sin(ωt) – a harmonic motion
• y(t) = the amplitude of vibration of proof mass
in the accelerometer from its initial static
equilibrium position.
• z(t) = the relative (or net) motion of the proof
mass m
• Hence z(t) = y(t) – x(t)
• The governing differential equation for z(t) is
mz
2
(t) + cz
1
(t) + kz(t) = mXω
2
sinωt (12)
• Once z(t) is obtained from solving the above
equation with appropriate initial conditions
we may obtain the acceleration of the proof
mass in a relative movement as
(13)
2 2 2
/ ) ( ) ( dt t z d t z =
• The solution of z(t) with initial conditions
z(0) = 0 and dz(t)/dt 
t=0
= 0 is
z(t) = Z sin(ωt – Φ) (14)
where the maximum magnitude Z is given by
(15)
The phase angle difference Φ between the
input motion of x(t) and the relative motion,
z(t) is (16)
2 2
2
2

.

\

÷

.

\

÷
=
m
c
m
k
X
Z
e
e
e
2
1
) / (
/
tan
e
e

÷
=
÷
m k
m c
• Alternatively Z can be written as
(17)
where ω = frequency of the vibrating base;
ω
n
is the circular natural frequency of the
accelerometer = √k/m
The parameter h = c/c
c
= the ratio of the
damping coefficients of the damping medium
in the micro accelerometer to its critical
damping with c
c
= 2mω
n
2
2
2
2
2
2 1


.

\

+
(
(
¸
(
¸


.

\

÷
=
n n
n
h
X
Z
e
e
e
e
e
e
• For the case of which the frequency of the
vibrating base ω is much smaller than the
natural frequency of the accelerometer ω
n
, i.e.
ω << ω
n
(18)
• Follow the following procedure in the design
of appropriate microaccelerometer for a
specific application 
(1) Set the target maximum amplitude of
vibration, X of the base (e.g., a vehicle or a
machine) and the anticipated frequency of
vibration, i.e. ω.
2
max ,
n
base
a
Z
e
÷ =
(2) Select the parameters: m, k, c and
calculate ω
n
and h.
(3) Compute the maximum relative amplitude
of vibration of the proof mass Z using the
available formulas.
(4) Check if the computed Z is within the range
of measurement of the intended transducer,
e.g. piezoresistors, piezoelectric, etc.
(5) Adjust the parameters in Step (2) if the
computed Z is too small to be measured by
the intended transducer.
• Spring constant of simple beams
• Simple beams are commonly used to
substitute the coil springs in
microaccelerometers.
• It is thus necessary to calculate the
“equivalent spring constant” of these beam
springs.
• Since the spring constant of an elastic solid,
whether it is a coil spring or other geometry is
defined as k = Force/Deflection (at which the
force is applied), we may derive the spring
constant for the three simple beam
configurations to be
in which E = Young’s modulus; I = section
moment of inertia of beam crosssection.
3
3
L
EI
deflection induced
F force applied
k = =
o
• Ex : Determine the natural frequency of a
force balanced microaccelerometer with
dimensions of the beam spring as shown.
Assume that the structure is made of Silicon
(Young’s modulus = 190,000 Mpa). The proof
mass = 3 x 10
6
Kg is assumed to be
concentrated at the center of the moving
beam.
• The are moment of inertia of the beam spring
is I = area / 12 = 10.42 x 1024 m
4
.
Case 1 : the beam is simply supported at the
ends
m N
L
EI
k / 44 . 0
48
3
= =
Natural frequency of vibration is
Case 2 : Beam is rigidly fixed at the ends
Natural frequency of vibration is
s rad
m
k
n
/ 542
2
= = e
m N
L
EI
k / 76 . 1
192
3
= =
s rad
m
k
n
/ 1083
2
= = e
• Damping coefficients
• In microaccelerometers, the friction between
the immersed fluid and the contacting
surfaces of the moving proof mass provides
damping effect.
• There are two types of “damping” induced by
this affect  (a) Squeeze film damping
(b) Micro damping in shear
• Numerical values of damping coefficients
depend on the geometry of the vibrating solid
components and the fluid that surround them.
• (a) Damping coefficient in a squeeze film.
• The damping coefficient can be found to be
(19)
where H
o
= nominal thickness of the thin film.
3
0
3
16 LH W
L
W
f c

.

\

=
• The function, f(W/L) is given in the Table
• EX :
Estimate the damping coefficient of a micro
accelerometer using a cantilever beam spring
as illustrated.
• We have the beam dimensions as
2L = 1000x10
6
m and 2W = 10x10
6
m
W/L = 0.01 f(W/L) = 0.992 from Table
• The nominal film thickness H
o
= 20x10
6
m.
From (19) we get c = 8x10
33
Ns/m.
• (b) Micro damping in shear
• The damping coefficient, c may be computed
from the following expression
(20)
m s N
H
Lb
c /
2
÷ =
µ
where L = length of the beam; b = the width of
the beam; H = gaps and μ = dynamic viscosity
of the damping fluid (Ns/m
2
)
• EX :
Estimate the damping coefficient in a
balancedforce microaccelerometer as
illustrated with (a) air and (b) silicone oil as
damping media. The sensor operates at 20
o
C.
• We have L = 700x10
6
m and b = 5x10
6
m and
the gap H = 10x10
6
m.
• The dynamic viscosities for air and silicone oil
at 20
o
C is
μ
air
= 18.75x106 Ns/m
2
, and
μ
si
= 740x106 Ns/m
2
• Thus, the damping coefficient with air is
• The damping coefficient with Silicone oil is
m s N c
air
/ 10 625 . 2
12
÷ × =
÷
m s N c
si
/ 10 036 . 1
10
÷ × =
÷
• Ex : Design of an inertia sensor for airbag
deployment system in automobiles.
Assume two vehicles with respective masses,
m
1
and m
2
traveling in opposite directions at
velocities V
1
and V
2
as illustrated. Each vehicle
is equipped with an inertia sensor built with
cantilever beam as shown.
Estimate the deflection of the proof mass in
the sensor in vehicle 1 with mass m
1
and also
the strain in the two piezoresistors embedded
underneath the top and bottom surfaces of
the beam near the support after the two
vehicles collide.
• The property of the “beam spring” are
I = 0.1042 x 10
18
m
4
k = 59.39 N/m
ω
n
= 2437 rad/s
The two vehicles will tangle together after the
collision, and the entangled vehicles move at a
velocity V as illustrated:
By law of conservation of momentum, we
should have the velocity of the entangled
vehicles to be
The decelerations
for vehicle with m
1
and for vehicle with m
2
where Δt = time required for deceleration.
h Km
m m
V m V m
V / 10
2 1
2 2 1 1
=
+
÷
=
t
V V
dt
X d
A
÷
=
1
2
2
t
V V
dt
X d
A
÷
=
2
2
2
Assume that it takes 0.5 second for vehicle 1
to decelerate from 50 Km/hr to 10 Km/hr after
the collision.
Thus the time for deceleration of the vehicle
m
1
is Δt = 0.5 second, in the above expression.
The deceleration of vehicle m
1
is
Let ω = frequency of vibration of the vehicles
and assume that ω<< ω
n
2
2
2
/ 22 . 22 s m a
dt
X d
base
÷ = =
We may approximate the amplitude of
vibration of the proof mass in the
accelerometer using (18) as
which is the maximum deflection of the
cantilever beam at the free end in the
accelerometer.
The equivalent force acting at the freeend is
m
a
Z
n
base 6
2
max ,
10 74 . 3
÷
× = ÷ =
e
N
L
EIZ
F
4
3
10 2213 . 2
3
÷
× = =
The maximum bending moment at the
support is M
max
= FL in which L is the length of
the beam.
M
max
= 2.2213 x 10
7
Nm
The corresponding maximum stress ς
max
is
ς
max
= M
max
C/I = 532.95 x 10
5
N/m
2
or Pa
where C is the distance from the outer surface
to the center on the bending plane.
Corresponding max. strain is obtained by using
the Hooke’s law to be
ε
max
= ς
max
/E = 2.81 x 10
4
= 0.0281 %
• Depending on the transducer used in the
microaccelerometer, the maximum stress,
σ
max
can produce a resistance change in the
case of “piezoresistors”.
• Alternatively, the maximum strain, ε
max
will
produce a change of voltage if “piezoelectric
crystal” is used as the transducer.
THERMOMECHANICS
• Thermomechanics relates mechanical effects
(stresses, strains and deformation) induced by
thermal forces (temperature difference or
heat flow) – a common phenomena in
microsystems.
• Thermal effects on the mechanical strength
• Most engineering materials exhibit reduction
in stiffness (Young’s Modulus) and the yield
and strength with increasing temperature.
• These reductions are more drastic with
plastics & polymers.
• Core elements used in microsystems like
Silicon, Quartz or Pyrex glass are relativel
insensitive to temperature.
• 2 major issues :
1. Material property changes
(Ref to the graph)
2. Creep deformation
Occur when the material’s temperature
exceeds half of the homogeneous melting
point of the material (on the absolute scale).
• E = Young’s modulus
• ς
y
= Plastic yield strength
• ς
u
= Ultimate tensile
strength
• k = Thermal conductivity
• c = Specific heat
• α = Coefficient of thermal
expansion
TemperatureDependent Thermophysical
Properties of Silicon
Temperature, K
Specific Heat,
J/gK
Coefficient of Thermal
Expansion, 10
6
/K
200 0.557 1.406
220 0.597 1.715
240 0.632 1.986
260 0.665 2.223
280 0.691 2.432
300 0.713 2.616
400 0.785 3.253
500 0.832 3.614
600 0.849 3.842
• Creep is a form of deformation in the material
without being subjected to additional
mechanical load.
• Silicon and silicon compounds have strong
creep resistance  Creep is not a problem.
• It is the polymer materials and many solder
alloys that have this problem.
• Generally 3 stages of creep deformation –
primary, steady state and tertiary state.
• Increase in operating temperature increases
the creep deformation.
Thermal Stress and Strain Analysis
• Solids expand when they are heated up and
contract when they are cooled down.
• Constraints to such shape change will cause
“stress” in the solids.
• Most microsystems are made from
components of different material such as
layered thin films, thermal stress due to
mismatch CTE (coefficient of thermal
expansion) need to be accurately assessed in
the design stage.
• Induced thermal stress with both ends fixed
ς
T
= E ε
T
= α E ΔT
where E = Young’s modulus; ε
T
= thermal
strain; ΔT = temperature rise from reference
temperature (room temperature).
• Application of Thermal Expansion of Bistrip
Materials in MEMS:
• Commonly used in microactuators and
microtweezers.
• As the CTE of the two strips are different, the
strip may bend upward or downward when
subjected to temperature change.
• The bimetallic strip will bend when it is
subjected to a temperature rise of ΔT = T – T
o
.
• The strip will bend into the following shape if
t
2
>t
1
and α
2
> α
1
• Assume m = t
1
/t
2
and
n = E
1
/E
2
• The interface force is
(21)
( )


.

\

+
÷
=
2 1
1 2
1 1
8
E E
hb T
F
o o
• The radius of curvature ρ is
(22)
• For a special case when t
1
= t
2
= h/2 → m = 1
(23)
Further, if E
1
≈ E
2
→ n ≈ 1,
(24)
(
¸
(
¸

.

\

+ + + +
A ÷ +
=
mn
m mn m h
T m
1
) 1 ( ) 1 ( 3
) ( ) 1 ( 6 1
2 2
2 1
2
o o
µ
(
¸
(
¸
+ +
A ÷
=
n
n h
T
1
14
) ( 24 1
2 1
o o
µ
T
h
A ÷
=
) ( 3
2
2 1
o o
µ
• Ex :
A micro actuator made up by a bilayered
strip using oxidized silicon beam is shown. A
resistant heating film is deposited on the top
of the oxide layer. Estimate the interfacial
force and the movement of the freeend of
the strip with a temperature rise ΔT = 10
o
C.
Use the following material properties: Young’s
modulus: E
SiO2
= E
1
= 385000 MPa; E
Si
=E
2
=
190000 Mpa. Coefficients of thermal
expansion: α
SiO2
= α
1
= 0.5x10
6
/
o
C; α
Si
= α
2
=
2.33x10
6
/
o
C
• Interfacial force is
and
( )
N
E E
hb T
F
6
2 1
1 2
10 55 . 14
1 1
8
÷
× =


.

\

+
÷
=
o o
m
T
h
3643 . 0
) ( 3
2
2 1
=
A ÷
=
o o
µ
• We have to design the actuator for the
required end movement to the desired
amount.
Translate the radius of curvature of the
actuated beam to end movement δ.
• The angle θ can be evaluated by the following
approximation
we may compute the end movement, δ to be
δ ≈ ρ − ρCosθ = 0.3643 − 0.3643Cos(0.1574
o
)
= 1.373x10
−6
m or 1.37 μm
• Ex : For the same bilayer beam, the thickness
of the SiO
2
film being reduced to 2 μm and
thickness of the Si beam being increased to 8
μm. Estimate what will be the change in the
actuated strip.
2878 . 2
360
10 1000 ) ( ) (
6
=
×
= ~
÷
u u u
ac line ac arc
• t
1
= t
SiO2
= 2x10
6
m and t
2
= t
Si
= 8x10
6
m
• m = t
1
/t
2
= 2/8 = 0.25
n = E
1
/E
2
= 385000/190000 = 2.026
• By using (22)
or ρ =  0.4572 m which leads to the end
deflection δ = 1.73 μm (downward with –ve ρ)
187 . 2
1
) 1 ( ) 1 ( 3
) ( ) 1 ( 6 1
2 2
2 1
2
÷ =
(
¸
(
¸

.

\

+ + + +
A ÷ +
=
mn
m mn m h
T m o o
µ
Finite Element Stress Analysis
• Finite element method (FEM) is a powerful
tool in stress analysis of MEMS and
microsystems of complex geometry, loading
and boundary conditions.
• Commercial FEM codes include: ANSYS,
ABAQUS, IntelliSuite, MEMCad, etc.
• The essence of FEM is to discretize (divide) a
structure made of continuum into a finite
number of “elements” interconnected at
“nodes.”
• Smaller and more elements used in the
discretized model produces better results
because the model is closer to the original
continuum.
• Continuum mechanics theories and principles
are applied on the individual elements, and
the results from individual elements are
“assembled” to give results of the overall
Structure.
• Two principal rules to be followed.
1. Place denser and smaller elements in the
parts of the structure with an abrupt change
of geometry where high stress or strain
concentrations are expected.
2. Avoid using elements with high aspect ratio
(ratio of longest to shortest dimension in the
same element), should be below 10.
• Engineering applications
1. Stress/Strain analysis of solid structures –
displacement.
2. Heat conduction analysis – conduction /
convection / radiation.
3. Fluid dynamics – mass flow, velocity and
driving pressure.
• Input information to FE analysis:
(1) General information:
Profile of the structure geometry.
Establish the coordinates.
(2) Develop FE mesh (i.e. discretizing the
structure)
Use automatic mesh generation by
commercial codes.
User usually specifies desirable density of
nodes and elements in specific regions.
(3) Material property input:
In stress analysis: Young’s modulus E; Poisson
ratio ν; Shear modulus of elasticity G; Yield
strength ς
y
; Ultimate strength ς
u
.
In heat conduction analysis: Mass density, ρ;
Thermal conductivity, k; Specific heat, c;
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion
coefficient, α.
(4) Boundary and loading conditions:
In stress analysis: Nodes with constrained
displacements (e.g. in x, y or zdirection);
Concentrated forces at specified nodes or
pressure at specified element edge surfaces.
In heat conduction analysis: Given
temperature at specified nodes or heat flux at
specified element edge surfaces or convective
or radiative conditions at specified element
surfaces.
• Output from FE analysis
(1) Nodal and element information
Displacements at nodes.
Stresses and strains in each element:
 Normal stress components in x, y and z
directions;
 Shear stress components on the xy, xz and yz
planes;
 Normal and shear strain components
 Max. and min. principal stress components.
 The von Mises stress
The von Mises stress is used to be the
“representative” stress in a multiaxial stress
situation.
It is used to compare with the yield strength,
ς
y
for plastic yielding, and to ς
u
for the
prediction of the rupture of the structure
often with an input safety factor.
• Application of FEM in stress analysis of silicon
die in a pressure sensor:
• Only quarter of the die structure was in the FE
model due to symmetry in geometry, loading
and boundary conditions.
Materials for MEMS and
Microsystems
• In semiconductors, the substrate is a single
crystal cut in slices from a larger piece called
wafer.
• Wafers can be of Silicon or other single crystal
material such as Quartz or GaAs.
• Two types of substrate materials in
microsystems – active and passive .
Active substrate materials
• Used for sensors and actuators.
• Include Slicon, Gemanium, GaAs and Quartz.
• They have a cubic crystal lattice with a
tetrahedral atomic bond.
• Selected for dimensional stability – relatively
insensitive to environmental conditions.
• Silicon – an ideal substrate material for
MEMS
• Silicon (Si) is the most abundant material on
earth. It almost always exists in compounds
with other elements.
• Single crystal silicon is the most widely used
substrate material for MEMS and
microsystems.
• The popularity of silicon for such application is
primarily for the following reasons 
(1) It is mechanically stable and it is feasible to
be integrated into electronics on the same
substrate (it is a semiconducting material).
(2) Electronics for signal transduction such as
the p or ntype piezoresistive can be readily
integrated with the Si substrateideal for
transistors.
(3) Silicon is almost an ideal structure material.
It has about the same Young’s modulus as
steel (∼ 2x10
5
MPa), but is as light as
aluminum with a density of about 2.3 g/cm
3
.
(4) It has a melting point at 1400
o
C, which is
about twice higher than that of aluminum.
This high melting point makes silicon
dimensionally stable even at elevated
temperature.
(5) Its thermal expansion coefficient is about 8
times smaller than that of steel, and is more
than 10 times smaller than that of aluminum.
(6) Silicon shows virtually no mechanical
hysteresis. It is thus an ideal candidate
material for sensors and actuators.
(7) Silicon wafers are extremely flat for coatings
and additional thin film layers for either being
integral structural parts or performing precise
electromechanical functions.
(8) There is a greater flexibility in design and
manufacture with silicon than with other
substrate materials. Treatments and
fabrication processes for silicon substrates are
well established and documented.
• SingleCrystal Silicon
• For silicon to be used as a substrate material
in integrated circuits and MEMS, it has to be in
a pure singlecrystal form.
The most commonly used method of
producing singlecrystal silicon is the
Czochralski (CZ) method.
• Procedure:
(1) Raw Si (quartzite) + coal, coke, woodchips)
are melted in the crucible.
(2) A “seed” crystal is brought to be in contact
with molten Si to form larger crystal.
(3) The “puller” slowly pulls the molten Si up to
form pure Si “boule” after the solidification.
(4) The diameters of the “bolognalike” boules
vary from 100 mm (4”) to 300 mm (12”) in
diameters.
• Chemical reaction for the process:
SiC + SiO
2
→ Si + CO + SiO
• Pure silicon wafers
• Pure silicon boules of 300 mm diameter and
30 ft long, can weigh up to 400 Kg.
200 mm
wafer
300 mm wafer
Pure Silicon
boule
• These boules are sliced into thin disks (wafers)
using diamond saws.
• Standard sizes of wafers are:
100 mm (4”) diameter x 500 μm thick.
150 mm (6”) diameter x 750 μm thick.
200 mm (8”) diameter x 1 mm thick
300 mm (12”) diameter x 750 μm thick
(tentative).
• Single Silicon Crystal Structure
• Single silicon crystals are basically of “face
cubiccenter” (FCC) structure.
The crystal structure of a typical FCC crystal is
as shown.
• Total number of atoms: 8 at corners and 6 at
faces = 14 atoms
• The lattice constant b = 0.543 nm.
• In an FCC lattice, each atom is bonded to 12
nearest neighbor atoms.
• Single crystal silicon, however has 4 extra
atoms in the interior.
• Total number of
atoms in a single
silicon crystal = 18.
• The asymmetrical
distribution of atoms
within the crystal
make pure silicon
anisotropic in its mechanical properties.
• The Miller Indices
• Miller indices are commonly use to describe
the faces of crystalline materials.
• A plane intersects
x, y and z
coordinates at
a, b and c.
• A point P on the
plane located at P(x,y,z).
• The equation thet defines the P(x,y,z) is
(1)
• Miller indices involves
(hkm) = designation of a “face” or a plane;
<hkm> = designation of a direction that is
perpendicular to the (hkm) plane.
• In a cubic crystal, such as silicon, a = b = c = 1
1 1 = + + ¬ = + + mz ky hx
c
z
b
y
a
x
• The 3 Distinct Planes of a Cubic Crystal
Top face: Plane (001) Diagonal face:
Right face: Plane (010) Plane (110)
Front face: Plane (100)
• Incline face:
• Plane (111)
The 3 Principal Planes of a Silicon Crystal
• Characteristics of silicon by principal planes
(1) The (100) planes contain least number of
atoms→ the weakest plane → easiest to work
with.
(2) The (110) planes offers the cleanest surfaces
in micro fabrications.
(3) The (111) contains shortest bonds between
atoms → strongest plane → toughest to work
with.
• The (100) plane makes an angle of 54.74
o
with
the (111) plane.
Silicon Compounds
• There are 3 principal silicon compounds used
in MEMS and microsystems  Silicon dioxide
(SiO
2
), Silicon carbide (SiC) and silicon nitride
(Si
3
N
4
).
• Each has distinct characteristic and unique
applications.
• Silicon dioxide (SiO
2
)
• It is least expensive material to offer good
thermal and electrical insulation.
• Also used a lowcost material for “masks” in
micro fabrication processes such as etching,
deposition and diffusion.
• Used as sacrificial material in “surface
micromachining”.
• Above all, it is very easy to produce.
 by dry heating of silicon: Si + O
2
→ SiO
2
 by oxidise silicon in wet steam: Si + 2H
2
O →
SiO
2
+ 2H
2
• Silicon carbide (SiC)
• Its very high melting point and resistance to
chemical reactions make it ideal candidate
material for being masks in micro fabrication
processes.
• It has superior dimensional stability.
• Silicon nitride (Si
3
N
4
)
• Produced by chemical reaction:
3SiCl
2
H
2
+ 4NH
3
→ Si
3
N
4
+ 6HCl + 6H
2
• Used as excellent barrier to diffusion to water
and ions.
• Its ultra strong resistance to oxidation and
many etchants make it a superior material for
masks in deep etching.
• Also used as high strength electric insulators.
• Selected properties Si
3
N
4
films are as follows :
Polycrystalline silicon
• It is usually called “Polysilicon”.
• It is an aggregation of pure silicon crystals with
randomly orientations deposited on the top of
silicon substrates:
• These polysilicon usually are highly doped
silicon.
• They are deposited to the substrate surfaces
to produce localized “resistors” and “gates for
transistors”
• Being randomly oriented, polysilicon is even
stronger than single silicon crystals.
• Comparison of Mechanical Properties of
Polysilicon with Other Materials
Silicon Piezoresistors
• Piezoresistance = a change in electrical
resistance of solids when subjected to stress
fields.
• Doped silicon are piezoresistors (ptype or n
type).
• Relationship between change of resistance
{ΔR} and stresses {ς} is
{ΔR} = [π] {ς} (2)
where
{ΔR} = { ΔR
xx
ΔR
yy
ΔR
zz
ΔR
xy
ΔR
xz
ΔR
yz
}
T
represents the change of resistances in an
infinitesimally small cubic piezoresistive
crystal element with corresponding stress
components:
{ς} = {ς
xx
ς
yy
ς
zz
ς
xy
ς
xz
ς
yz
}
T
and
[π] = piezoresistive coefficient matrix.
• Due to equilibrium condition, there are six
independent stress components  3 normal
stress components and 3 shearing stress
components.
A silicon piezoresistance subjected to a stress
field
• The piezoresistive coefficient matrix has the
components as
• Expanding (2) result in the following:
ΔR
xx
= π
11
ς
xx
+π
12
(ς
yy
+ς
zz
)
ΔR
yy
= π
11
ς
yy
+π
12
(ς
xx
+ς
zz
)
ΔR
zz
= π
11
ς
11
+π
12
(ς
xx
+ς
yy
)
ΔR
xy
= π
44
ς
xy
ΔR
xz
= π
44
ς
xz
ΔR
yz
= π
44
ς
yz
• Note: Only 3 piezoresistive coefficients are
required; π
11
and π
12
associated with normal
stresses and π
44
with shearing stresses.
• Numerical values of piezoresistive
coefficients
Silicon piezoresistors at room temperature
T T L L
R
R
o t o t + =
A
• Piezoresistive coefficients of ptype silicon
piezoresistors in various directions
• Ex : Estimate the change of resistance in
silicon piezoresistors attached to the
diaphragm of a pressure sensor. The maximum
applied pressure is p = 70 Mpa.
• Corresponding
maximum stress
at the midspan
of each of the 4
edges is
ς
max
= 186.81 Mpa
= ς
L
= ς
T
• Since the diaphragm is on (100) face, the two
piezoresistive coefficients are
π
L
= π
T
= 0.02 π
44
• But π
44
= 138.1 x 10
11
Pa
1
from the Table,
we thus have
• Temperature sensitivity of silicon
piezoresistors
• A major deficiency of silicon piezoresistors is
its sensitivity of temperature as indicated in
the table.
01032 . 0 2
max 44
= = + =
A
o t o t o t
T T L L
R
R
TCR = temperature coefficient of resistance;
TCP = temperature coefficient of piezoresistivity.
• A ptype silicon piezoresistor with a doping of
10
19
atoms/cm
3
, The loss of piezoresistivity is
0.27%/
o
C.
• In an operating temperature of 120
o
C, It
would lose (12020)x0.27% = 27% of the value
of the piezoresistivity coefficient.
Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)
• GaAs is a compound semiconductor with
equal number of Ga and As atoms.
• Because it is a compound, it is more difficult
to process.
• It is excellent material for monolithic
integration of electronic and photonic devices
on a single substrate.
• The reason for being excellent material for
photoelectronics is its high electron mobility
(7 times more mobile than silicon).
• GaAs is also a good thermal insulator.
• Low yield strength (only 1/3 of that of silicon)
– “bad”.
A comparison of GaAs and silicon as substrate
materials in micromachining
Quartz
• Quartz is a compound of
SiO
2
.
• The singleunit cell is in
shape of tetrahedron.
• Quartz crystal is made of up to 6 rings with 6
silicon atoms.
• Quartz is ideal material for sensors because of
its extreme dimensional stability.
• It is used as piezoelectric material in many
devices.
• It is also excellent material for microfluidics
systems used in biomedical applications.
• It offers excellent electric insulation in
microsystems.
• A major disadvantage is its hard in machining.
It is usually etched in HF/NH4F into desired
shapes.
• Quartz wafers up to 75 mm diameter by 100
μm thick are available commercially.
Piezoelectric Crystals
• Piezoelectric crystals are solid ceramic
compounds that produce piezoelectric effects.
• Natural piezoelectric crystals are: quartz,
tourmaline and sodium potassium tartrate.
• Synthesized crystals are: Rochelle salt, barium
titanate and lead zirconate.
• Mechanical strain by electric field 
ε = d V
where ε = induced strain; d = piezoelectric
coefficient; V = applied voltage, V/m
• Electric field by stress:
V = f σ
where V = generated voltage in volts/m; ς =
applied stress in Pa
• Ex : A thin piezoelectric crystal film PZT is used
to transduce the signal in a micro
accelerometer involving a cantilever beam
made of silicon. The accelerometer is
designed for maximum acceleration
/deceleration of 10 g.
The PZT transducer is located at the support
of the cantilever beam where the maximum
strain exists (near the support) during the
bending of the beam as illustrated below.
Determine the electrical voltage output from
the PZT film at a maximum acceleration
/deceleration.
• Using Newton’s 2nd law, the equivalent
dynamic force with an acceleration of 10 g is
P
eq
= ma = (10x10
6
)x(10x9.81) =981x10
6
N
• The maximum bending moment of
M
max
= P
eq
L = (981x10
6
)(1000x10
6
) =
0.981x10
6
Nm and occurs at the builtin end.
• The corresponding maximum stress is
• The maximum strain is
Pa
I
C M
6
18
6 6
max
max
10 36 . 235
10 1042 . 0
) 10 25 )( 10 981 . 0 (
× =
×
× ×
= =
÷
÷ ÷
o
5
11
6
max
max
10 87 . 123
10 9 . 1
) 10 36 . 235 (
÷
÷
× =
×
×
= =
E
o
c
• The voltage generated in the PZT piezoelectric
crystal is
or
• Ex : Determine the required electric voltage
for ejecting a droplet of ink from an inkjet
printer head using PZT piezoelectric crystal as
a pumping mechanism.
m Volts
d
V / 10 258 . 0
10 480
) 10 87 . 123 (
7
12
5
max
× =
×
×
= =
÷
÷
c
Volts Vl v 32 . 10 ) 10 4 )( 10 258 . 0 (
6 7
= × × = =
÷
The ejected ink will have a resolution of 300
dpi (dots per inch). The ink droplet is assumed
to produce a dot with a film thickness of 1 μm
on the paper.
The geometry and dimension of the printer
head is illustrated below. Assume that the ink
droplet takes a shape of a sphere and the
inkwell is always refilled after ejection.
• The diameter of the dot film on the paper is
D = 1/300 inch = 0.084666 mm = 84.67 μm
• By equating the volumes of the dot sphere
and the flat dot on the paper, we have
• Assume that Volume of an ink droplet leaving
the ink well = Volume created by vertical
expansion of the PZT cover.
• Let W = vertical expansion of the PZT cover
induced by the applied voltage, V
Δ = diameter of the PZT cover = 2000 μm
m r t D r
6 2 3
10 04 . 11
4 4
3
÷
× = ¬

.

\

=
t
t
• The corresponding strain in the PZT
piezoelectric cover is:
• The piezoelectric coefficient of the PZT crystal
is d = 480x1012 m/v, leading to the required
voltage to be
m
V
W
dot
12
2 6
18
2
10 83 . 1791
) 10 2000 ( 1416 . 3
10 21 . 5629 4 4
÷
÷
÷
× =
×
× ×
=
A
=
t
6
6
12
10 183 . 179
10 10
10 83 . 1791
÷
÷
÷
× =
×
×
= =
L
W
c
m V
d
V / 10 3733 . 0
10 480
10 183 . 179
6
12
6
× =
×
×
= =
÷
÷
c
or
Polymers
• What is polymer?
Polymers include: Plastics, adhesives, Plexiglass
and Lucite.
• Principal applications of polymers in MEMS:
Currently in biomedical applications and adhesive
bonding.
New applications involve using polymers as
substrates with electric conductivity made
possible by doping.
V Vl v 733 . 3 10 10 10 3733 . 0
6 6
= × × × = =
÷
• Molecular structure of polymers:
It is made up of long chains of organic
(hydrocarbon) molecules.
The molecules can be as long as a few hundred
nm.
• Characteristics of polymers:
 Low melting point; Poor electric conductivity
 Thermoplastics and thermosets are common
industrial products
 Thermoplastics are easier to form into shapes.
 Thermosets have higher mechanical strength
even at temperature up to 350
o
C.
• Polymers as industrial materials
• Polymers are popular materials used for many
industrial products for the following
advantages:
 Light weight
 Ease in processing
 Low cost of raw materials and processes for
producing polymers
 High corrosion resistance
 High electrical resistance
 High flexibility in structures
 High dimensional stability
• Polymers for MEMS and microsystems
(1) Photoresist polymers are used to produce
masks for creating desired patterns on substrates
by photolithography technique.
(2) The same photoresist polymers are used to
produce the prime mold with desirable geometry
of the MEMS components in a LIGA process in
micro manufacturing.
(3) Conductive polymers are used as “organic”
substrates for MEMS and microsystems.
(4) The ferroelectric polymers that behave like
piezoelectric crystals can be used as the source of
actuation in micro devices such as in micro
pumping.
(5) The thin LangmuirBlodgett (LB) films can be
used to produce multilayer microstructures.
(6) Polymers with unique characteristics are used as
coating substance to capillary tubes to facilitate
effective electroosmotic flow in microfluidics.
(7) Thin polymer films are used as electric insulators
in micro devices and as dielectric substance in
micro capacitors.
(8) They are widely used for electromagnetic
interference (EMI) and radio frequency
interference (RFI) shielding in microsystems.
(9) Polymers are ideal materials for
encapsulation of micro sensors and the
packaging of other microsystems.
• Conductive Polymers
• Polymers are poor electric conducting
materials by nature.
• A comparison of electric conductivity of
selected materials are as in the table.
• Some polymers can be made electrically
conductive by the following 3 methods:
(1) Pyrolysis:
(2) Doping:
Introducing metal atoms into molecular
matrices of polymers → Conductive polymers
(3) Insertion of conductive fibers:
Fibers made of Au, Ag, stainless steel,
aluminum fibers and flakes.
• LangmuirBlodgett (LB) films
• The process was first introduced by Langmuir
in 1917 and was later refined by Blodgett.
That was why it is called LangmuirBlodgett
process or LB films.
• The process involves the spreading volatile
solvent over the surfaceactive substrate
materials.
• The LB process can produce more than one
single monolayer by depositing films of
various compositions onto a substrate to
produce a multilayer structure.
• LB films are good candidate materials for
exhibiting ferro (iron) , pyro (heat) and
piezoelectric properties.
• LB films may also be produced with controlled
optical properties such as refractive index and
anti reflections.
• Ideal materials for micro sensors and
optoelectronic devices.
• LB film applications in microsystems:
(1) Ferroelectric (magnetic) polymer thin films:
The one in particular is the Polyvinylidene
fluoride (PVDF).
Applications of this type of films include:
 Sound transducers in air and water,
 Tactile sensors,
 Biomedical applications such as tissue
compatibility, cardiopulmonary sensors and
implantable transducers and sensors for
prosthetics and rehabilitation devices.
 As a piezoelectric source.
(2) Coating materials with controllable optical
properties:
Broadband optical fibers that transmit light at
various wavelengths.
(3) Microsensors:
Many electrically conducting polymeric
materials are sensitive to the exposed gas and
other environmental conditions  suitable
materials for micro sensors.
Its ability of detecting specific substances
relies on the reversible and specific absorption
of species of interest on the surface of the
polymer layer and the subsequent measurable
change of conductivity of the polymer.
• SU8 Photoresists
• It is a negative epoxybased polymer sensitive
to UV light (λ = 350400 nm)
• It is used for thinfilm production with
thickness from 1 μm to 2 mm
Reasons for it being popular in MEMS:
• Can be built to thick films for 3D MEMS
structures (aspect ratio to 50)
• Much lower production costs than thick films
by silicon
• It is commercially available in liquid form
• SU8 films can be produced by a spinprocess:
• Packaging Materials
• Unlike IC packaging in which plastic or ceramic
are extensively used as encapsulate materials
for the delicate IC circuits, MEMS packaging
involve a great variety of materialsvarying
from plastic and polymers to stainless steel, as
can be seen in a specially packaged micro
pressure sensor 
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