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Adhesion Of Polysilicon Microbeams In Controlled Humidity Ambients

M. P. de Boer, P. J. Clews, B. K. Smith, T. A. Michalske

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AbstractWe characterize in-situ the adhesion of surface micromachined polysilicon beams subject to controlled humidity ambients. Beams were freed by supercritical CO2drying. Consistent adhesion results were obtained using a post-treatment in an oxygen plasma which rendered the microbeams uniformly hydrophilic. Individual beam deformations were measured by optical interferometry after equilibration at a given relative humidity (RH). Validation of each adhesion measurement was accomplished by comparing the deformations with elasticity theory. The data indicates that adhesion increases exponentially with RH from 30% to 95%, with values from 1 mJ/m2 to 50 mJ/m2. Using the Kelvin equation, we show that the data should be independent of RH if a smooth interface is considered. By modeling a rough interface consistent with atomic force microscopy (AFM) data, the exponential trend is satisfactorily explained.