Description: Polysilicon surface micromachining is a technology for manufacturing Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) which has, as its basis, the manufacturing methods and tool sets used to manufacture the integrated electronic circuit. This paper describes a three-level mechanical-polysilicon surface-micromachining technology and includes a discussion of the advantages of this level of process complexity along with issues which affect device fabrication and performance. Historically, the primary obstacles to multi-level polysilicon fabrication were related to the severe wafer topography generated by the repetition of film depositions and etching. The introduction of Chemical Mechanical Polishing (CMP) to surface micromachining has largely removed these issues and opened significant avenues for device complexity. Several examples of three-level devices with the benefits of CMP are presented. Of primary hindrance to the widespread use of polysilicon surface micromachining, and in particular microactuation mechanisms, are issues related to the device surfaces. The closing discussion examines the potential of several latter and post-fabrication processes to circumvent or to directly alleviate the surface problems.
Date: August 1996
Creator: Sniegowski, J. J.
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