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Design and fabrication of a combined MEMS actuator and grating

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We report the design and fabrication process optimisation of an optical MEMS device, addressing the various processing difficulties experienced in the fabrication of silicon-on-insulator (SOI)-based devices. Challenges in the fabrication of the device are addressed through innovative design of the mask layout and process flow optimisation. Release of stress in the buried oxide layer, which affects the fabrication yield, is addressed through modification in the mask design and controlled wet etching process. The extremely sensitive step of dicing the fragile wafer, after fabrication, is included as part of the process flow. To demonstrate the process, a MEMS grating device with out-of-plane resonant actuation with potential application in Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is presented. The device consists of a novel configuration of curved serpentine springs and a set of beam elements serving the dual roles of a comb drive actuator as well as an optical grating. A four-mask CMOS-compatible fabrication process flow is developed to realise the device by optical lithography and controlled deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) of SOI wafers. Preliminary electrical characterisation of the fabricated device delivers a displacement of 13.96 μm at an actuation of 100 V AC signal and 10 V DC offset voltage, which is in accordance with the finite element model of the device.

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The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology and the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for funding the research under the project Nanoelectronics Network for Research and Applications (NNetRA). The contribution of S. Viswanathan in microfabrication is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Shanti Bhattacharya.

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Krishnan, M.B., Bhattacharya, S. & Bhattacharya, E. Design and fabrication of a combined MEMS actuator and grating. ISSS J Micro Smart Syst 10, 135–143 (2021).

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