This paper describes a unique method of encapsulating MEMS switches at the wafer level using a thin-film “microshell” lid and a novel micro-embossing, or “stamping” technique to seal the lid. After fabrication of the MEMS switch and subsequent formation of the microshell, the switches are released through gold tunnels that allow the penetration of a chemical etchant. In a controlled ambient, a “stamp” wafer is aligned to the device wafer, and the wafers are thermally compressed together. This process applies pressure across each tunnel to fuse the gold, thereby sealing the microshell packages. By sealing and passivating the switches at the wafer level, the wafers can be exposed to backend processing, packaging, and assembly steps such as dicing without damaging the sensitive MEMS devices. Furthermore, the size, cost, and complexity of the packaged system are significantly reduced compared to standard wafer bonding processes.

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