Project 9: Design and Characterization of MEMS Test Structures for In-Situ Determination of Thin Film Mechanical Properties (Prof. Kevin Walsh, ECE)

Project Description: MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) is a relatively new field of micro/nanotechnology which leverages the miniaturization revolution originally developed by the microelectronic and IC industries to produce new types of electro-mechanical devices such as tiny sensors (pressure, acceleration, flow, etc) and acturators (inkjet printheads, digital light projectors, etc).  MEMS is now a $100B industry with the promise of accelerated market growth and penetration into many diverse fields.  However, in order to fabricate a successful MEMS device, one must fully characterize both the electronic and mechanical properties of candidate thin films.  In this interesting 10 week summer research experience, the student will design, fabricate, and characterize an array of MEMS test structures for determining critical mechanical properties such as temperature coefficient of expansion, intrinsic stress, stress gradient, etc.  Some of the interesting MEMS test structures shown below will be fabricated on a 4” silicon wafer using UofL’s 10,000 sq ft, class 100,  $30M state-of-the-art cleanroom facility.  The selected student will receive invaluable micro/nano fab training and experience.