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A METHOD FOR ASSEMBLING MICROMECHANICAL DEVICES USING ONE OF MAGNETIC FIELD OR LIQUID SURFACE TENSION

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000007467D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2002-Mar-28
Document File: 8 page(s) / 367K

Publishing Venue

Motorola

Related People

Keith E. Witek: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

An ex-situ micromachine fabrication technol- ogy is taught herein which allows micromechanical/ micromachined parts of different materials to be fab- ricated singly (ex-situ) without the limitations in in-situ manufacturing and yet devices can be assem- bled into highly complex 3-D devices/structures. In other words, a micromachining structure which com- prises many parts (for example one or more of, gears, shafts, moving arms, micromachined motors, pinch- ers, grippers, propellers, fans, pipes, scissors, electri- cal circuitry, sensors, communication devices/cir- cuitry, transducers, a housing, III-V optical struc- tures and the like) can be assembled by first assem- bling the individual parts. These individual parts could even be manufactured on different substrates in different locations. Once the individual pieces are available, lilI-off etch techniques, magnetic alignment, and liquid surface tension can be used to assemble the parts in an "assembly line" ex-situ manner.

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8 MOlVKILA Technical Developments

A METHOD FOR ASSEMBLING MICROMECHANICAL DEVICES USING ONE OF MAGNETIC FIELD OR LIQUID SURFACE TENSION

by Keith E. Witek, Jon T. Fitch and Papu D. Maniar

  An ex-situ micromachine fabrication technol- ogy is taught herein which allows micromechanical/ micromachined parts of different materials to be fab- ricated singly (ex-situ) without the limitations in in-situ manufacturing and yet devices can be assem- bled into highly complex 3-D devices/structures. In other words, a micromachining structure which com- prises many parts (for example one or more of, gears, shafts, moving arms, micromachined motors, pinch- ers, grippers, propellers, fans, pipes, scissors, electri- cal circuitry, sensors, communication devices/cir- cuitry, transducers, a housing, III-V optical struc- tures and the like) can be assembled by first assem- bling the individual parts. These individual parts could even be manufactured on different substrates in different locations. Once the individual pieces are available, lilI-off etch techniques, magnetic alignment, and liquid surface tension can be used to assemble the parts in an "assembly line" ex-situ manner.

  A simple and viable ex-situ fabrication technol- ogy would allow complex sensors (or other mechan- ical devices) of a wide variety of materials (which may not be silicon compatible or may be fabricated outside of an "integrated circuit type" fabrication facility) to be fabricated ex-situ and optionally mounted on a chip which has the electronics neces- sary to process the signals generated by the sensors/machinery. Thus, the sensor (or other micromechanical device) would no longer be bound by the processing constraints of the chip and vice versa. In other words, the entire device need not be formed in a two-dimensional layer approach as is currently used in integration circuit fabrication.

In general, the assembly ofmicromachined parts can be performed as follows:

(1) Fabricate the micromechanical parts with conventional means ex-situ. This would involve known techniques such as lithogra- phy, deposition, material growth, etching, thermal processing, and like IC processing.

% Momola. 1°C. 1995 97

Micromechanical parts could also be fabri- cated with a thin film bar of iron encapsu- lated in oxide and attached to the part or formed in-situ to each part. This would per- mit the part to be positioned/aligned in a final microstructure by an electromagnetic field. Also, parts may be fabricated using other technology other than IC processing using materials not readily compatible with silicon IC processing such as ceramics, plas- tics, wood, various metals, other non-silicon semiconductor materials, various organic compounds, etc.
(2) These parts can be either shipped on a sub- strate or separated by known lift-off tech- niques or the like into individual parts before shipping/processing.
(3) The micromachined parts may be picked up by the electrostatic or electromagnetic force othe...