Abstract

A process flow is described for the low cost, flexible fabrication of metal MEMS with high performance integrated sensing. The process is capable of producing new designs in ≈ 1 week at an average unit cost of <$1k/device even at batch sizes of ≈ 1-10, with expected sensing performance limits of about 135dB over a 10khz sensor bandwidth. This is a ≈20x reduction in cost, ≈25x reduction in time, and potentially >30x increase in sensing dynamic range over comparable state-of-the-art compliant nanopositioners. The Non-Lithographically Based Microfabriction (NLBM) process is uniquely suited to create high performance nanopositioning architectures which are customizable to the positioning requirements of a range of nanoscale applications. These can significantly reduce the cost of nanomanufacturing research and development, as well as accelerate the development of new processes and the testing of fabrication process chains without excess capital investment. A 6-DOF flexural nanopositioner with integrated sensing for all 6-DOF was fabricated using the newly developed process chain. The fabrication process was measured to have ≈30µm alignment. Sensor arm, flexure, and trace widths of 150µm, 150µm and 800µm, respectively, were demonstrated. Process capabilities suggest lower bounds of 25 µm, 50µm and 100µm, respectively. Dynamic range sensing of 52dB was demonstrated for the nanopositioner over a 10kHz sensor bandwidth. Improvements are proposed to approach sensor performance of 132dB over a 10kHz sensor bandwidth.

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