The Effect of Humidity on the Reliability of a Surface Micromachined Microengine

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Humidity is shown to be a strong factor in the wear of rubbing surfaces in polysilicon micromachines. We demonstrate that very low humidity can lead to very high wear without a significant change in reliability. We show that the volume of wear debris generated is a function of the humidity in an air environment. As the humidity decreases, the wear debris generated increases. For the higher humidity levels, the formation of surface hydroxides may act as a lubricant. The dominant failure mechanism has been identified as wear. The wear debris has been identified as amorphous oxidized silicon. Large slivers (approximately ... continued below

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Dugger, M.T.; Eaton, W.P.; Irwin, L.W.; Miller, S.L.; Miller, W.M.; Smith, N.F. et al. February 2, 1999.

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  • Sandia National Laboratories
    Publisher Info: Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, and Livermore, CA
    Place of Publication: Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Description

Humidity is shown to be a strong factor in the wear of rubbing surfaces in polysilicon micromachines. We demonstrate that very low humidity can lead to very high wear without a significant change in reliability. We show that the volume of wear debris generated is a function of the humidity in an air environment. As the humidity decreases, the wear debris generated increases. For the higher humidity levels, the formation of surface hydroxides may act as a lubricant. The dominant failure mechanism has been identified as wear. The wear debris has been identified as amorphous oxidized silicon. Large slivers (approximately 1 micron in length) of debris observed at the low humidity level were also amorphous oxidized silicon. Using transmission electron microscopy, we observed that the wear debris forms spherical and rod-like shapes. We compared two surface treatment processes: a fluorinated si- lane chain, (FITl) and supercritical C02 dried (SCC02). The microengines using the SCC02 process were found to be less reliable than those released with the FIX process under two humidity levels.

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  • International Reliability Physics Symposium; San Diego, CA; 03/22-25/1999

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  • Other: DE00003325
  • Report No.: SAND98-2061C
  • Grant Number: AC04-94AL85000
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 3325
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc679070

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • February 2, 1999

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 10:57 a.m.

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Dugger, M.T.; Eaton, W.P.; Irwin, L.W.; Miller, S.L.; Miller, W.M.; Smith, N.F. et al. The Effect of Humidity on the Reliability of a Surface Micromachined Microengine, article, February 2, 1999; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc679070/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.