Development of a Multi-User Polyimide-MEMS Fabrication Process and its Application to MicroHotplates

  • Ernesto B. Lizardo

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) became possible thanks to the silicon based technology used to fabricate integrated circuits. Originally, MEMS fabrication was limited to silicon based techniques and materials, but the expansion of MEMS applications brought the need of a wider catalog of materials, including polymers, now being used to fabricate MEMS. Polyimide is a very attractive polymer for MEMS fabrication due to its high temperature stability compared to other polymers, low coefficient of thermal expansion, low film stress and low cost. The goal of this thesis is to expand the Polyimide usage as structural material for MEMS by the development of a multi-user fabrication process for the integration of this polymer along with multiple metal layers on a silicon substrate. The process also integrates amorphous silicon as sacrificial layer to create free-standing structures. Dry etching is used to release the devices and avoid stiction phenomena. The developed process is used to fabricate platforms for micro-hotplate gas sensors. The fabrication steps for the platforms are described in detail, explaining the process specifics and capabilities. An initial testing of the micro-hotplate is presented. As the process was also used as educational tool, some designs made by students and fabricated with the Polyimide-MEMS process are also presented.
Date of AwardMay 8 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorIan Foulds (Supervisor)


  • MEMS
  • Micro-Fabrication
  • Polyimide
  • Micro-hotplates

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