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MEMS design : the geometry of silicon micromachining


Hubbard, Ted J. (1994) MEMS design : the geometry of silicon micromachining. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/TK4C-M144.


The design of MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) on the millimeter to micron length scales will be examined in this thesis.

A very broad base of knowledge has been developed concerning the etching processes commonly used in MEMS fabrication. The fundamental problem we have sent out to study is how to model the shape transformations that occur in MEMS fabrication. The ultimate goal is to determine the required input mask geometry for a desired output etched shape.

The body of work begins with the crystal structure of silicon and ends with etched shapes. The underlying crystal structure causes different rates for different directions; this behavior has been modeled to obtain rate models. The information in these rate models has then been used in a number of shape modelers. High level models like the Eshape model provide not only simulation but a framework for true design. Other models such as the Cellular Automata model take a different approach and provide flexible and robust simulators. The tools were used to develop real world MEMS applications such as compensation structures.

As important as the individual models, is the ability to integrate them together to a coherent design tool and allow information to flow between different parts. This synthesis allows a fuller understanding of the etching process from start to finish.

It is important to note that while this thesis deals with etching, the methods developed are very general and are applicable to many shape transformation processes.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Mechanical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Antonsson, Erik K.
Thesis Committee:
  • Antonsson, Erik K. (chair)
Defense Date:1 April 1994
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-09162005-134646
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3565
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:16 Sep 2005
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 04:10

Thesis Files

PDF (Hubbard_tj_1994.pdf) - Final Version
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