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Conference Paper: Electrical breakdown across micron scale gaps in MEMS structures

TitleElectrical breakdown across micron scale gaps in MEMS structures
Authors
KeywordsElectrical breakdown
MEMS microswitch
Paschen curve
Surface micromachining
Issue Date2006
PublisherS P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering. The Journal's web site is located at http://spie.org/x1848.xml
Citation
Proceedings Of Spie - The International Society For Optical Engineering, 2006, v. 6111 How to Cite?
AbstractLarge voltage differences between closely spaced MEMS structures can cause electrical breakdown and destruction of devices 1-2. In this study, a variety of planar thin film electrode configurations were tested to characterize breakdown response. All devices were fabricated using standard surface micromachining methods and materials, therefore our test results provide guidelines directly applicable to thin film structures used in MEMS devices. We observed that planar polysilicon structures exhibit breakdown responses similar to published results for larger metal electrode configurations 3-6. Our tests were performed in air at atmospheric pressure, with air gaps ranging from 0.5 μm to 10 μm. Our results show a sharp rise in breakdown level following increases in gap width up to about 3 μm, a plateau region between 3 μm and 7 μm and breakdown in gaps over 7 μm following the Paschen curve. This profile indicates an avalanche breakdown process in large gaps, with a transition region to small gaps in which electrode vaporization due to field emission current is the dominant breakdown process. This study also provides information on using multiple-gap configurations, with electrically floating regions located near the energized electrodes, and the added benefit this method may provide for switching high voltage with MEMS devices. In multiple-gap configurations, we noted a transition between direct tip to tip breakdown across electrode gaps of 40 μm, and a preferential breakdown path through the electrically floating contact head region for electrode gaps over 100 μm.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/149016
ISSN
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorStrong, FWen_HK
dc.contributor.authorSkinner, JLen_HK
dc.contributor.authorDentinger, PMen_HK
dc.contributor.authorTien, NCen_HK
dc.date.accessioned2012-06-20T06:17:53Z-
dc.date.available2012-06-20T06:17:53Z-
dc.date.issued2006en_HK
dc.identifier.citationProceedings Of Spie - The International Society For Optical Engineering, 2006, v. 6111en_US
dc.identifier.issn0277-786Xen_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/149016-
dc.description.abstractLarge voltage differences between closely spaced MEMS structures can cause electrical breakdown and destruction of devices 1-2. In this study, a variety of planar thin film electrode configurations were tested to characterize breakdown response. All devices were fabricated using standard surface micromachining methods and materials, therefore our test results provide guidelines directly applicable to thin film structures used in MEMS devices. We observed that planar polysilicon structures exhibit breakdown responses similar to published results for larger metal electrode configurations 3-6. Our tests were performed in air at atmospheric pressure, with air gaps ranging from 0.5 μm to 10 μm. Our results show a sharp rise in breakdown level following increases in gap width up to about 3 μm, a plateau region between 3 μm and 7 μm and breakdown in gaps over 7 μm following the Paschen curve. This profile indicates an avalanche breakdown process in large gaps, with a transition region to small gaps in which electrode vaporization due to field emission current is the dominant breakdown process. This study also provides information on using multiple-gap configurations, with electrically floating regions located near the energized electrodes, and the added benefit this method may provide for switching high voltage with MEMS devices. In multiple-gap configurations, we noted a transition between direct tip to tip breakdown across electrode gaps of 40 μm, and a preferential breakdown path through the electrically floating contact head region for electrode gaps over 100 μm.en_HK
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherS P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering. The Journal's web site is located at http://spie.org/x1848.xmlen_HK
dc.relation.ispartofProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineeringen_HK
dc.subjectElectrical breakdownen_HK
dc.subjectMEMS microswitchen_HK
dc.subjectPaschen curveen_HK
dc.subjectSurface micromachiningen_HK
dc.titleElectrical breakdown across micron scale gaps in MEMS structuresen_HK
dc.typeConference_Paperen_HK
dc.identifier.emailTien, NC: nctien@hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityTien, NC=rp01604en_HK
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltexten_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1117/12.646508en_HK
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-33646073420en_HK
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-33646073420&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_HK
dc.identifier.volume6111en_HK
dc.publisher.placeUnited Statesen_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridStrong, FW=13007548000en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridSkinner, JL=12764588800en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridDentinger, PM=7004230631en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridTien, NC=7006532826en_HK

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