Micromachines2014, 5(3), 622-653; doi:10.3390/mi5030622 - published 29 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The development and application of magnetic technologies employing microfabricated magnetic structures for the production of switching components has generated enormous interest in the scientific and industrial communities over the last decade. Magnetic actuation offers many benefits when compared to other schemes for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), including the generation of forces that have higher magnitude and longer range. Magnetic actuation can be achieved using different excitation sources, which create challenges related to the integration with other technologies, such as CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor), and the requirement to reduce power consumption. Novel designs and technologies are therefore sought to enable the use of magnetic switching architectures in integrated MEMS devices, without incurring excessive energy consumption. This article reviews the status of magnetic MEMS technology and presents devices recently developed by various research groups, with key focuses on integrability and effective power management, in addition to the ability to integrate the technology with other microelectronic fabrication processes.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 607-621; doi:10.3390/mi5030607 - published 28 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We report the development of an add-on, chip-based, optical module—termed the Microfluidic-based Oil-immersion Lenses (μOIL) chip—which transforms any stereo microscope into a high-resolution, large field of view imaging platform. The μOIL chip consists of an array of ball mini-lenses that are assembled onto a microfluidic silicon chip. The mini-lenses are made out of high refractive index material (sapphire) and they are half immersed in oil. Those two key features enable submicron resolution and a maximum numerical aperture of ~1.2. The μOIL chip is reusable and easy to operate as it can be placed directly on top of any biological sample. It improves the resolution of a stereo microscope by an order of magnitude without compromising the field of view; therefore, we believe it could become a versatile tool for use in various research studies and clinical applications.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 594-606; doi:10.3390/mi5030594 - published 26 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Several recent detector technologies developed for particle physics applications are based on microfabricated structures. Detectors built with this approach generally exhibit the overall best performance in terms of spatial and time resolution. Many properties of the SU-8 photoepoxy make it suitable for the manufacturing of microstructured particle detectors. This article aims to review some emerging detector technologies making use of SU-8 microstructuring, namely micropattern gaseous detectors and microfluidic scintillation detectors. The general working principle and main process steps for the fabrication of each device are reported, with a focus on the advantages brought to the device functionality by the use of SU-8. A novel process based on multiple bonding steps for the fabrication of thin multilayer microfluidic scintillation detectors developed by the authors is presented. Finally, a brief overview of the applications for the discussed devices is given.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 583-593; doi:10.3390/mi5030583 - published 25 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Structuring SU-8 based superparamagnetic polymer composite (SPMPC) containing Fe3O4 nanoparticles by photolithography is limited in thickness due to light absorption by the nanoparticles. Hence, obtaining thicker structures requires alternative processing techniques. This paper presents a method based on inkjet printing and thermal curing for the fabrication of much thicker hemispherical microstructures of SPMPC. The microstructures are fabricated by inkjet printing the nanoparticle-doped SU-8 onto flat substrates functionalized to reduce the surface energy and thus the wetting. The thickness and the aspect ratio of the printed structures are further increased by printing the composite onto substrates with confinement pedestals. Fully crosslinked microstructures with a thickness up to 88.8 μm and edge angle of 112° ± 4° are obtained. Manipulation of the microstructures by an external field is enabled by creating lines of densely aggregated nanoparticles inside the composite. To this end, the printed microstructures are placed within an external magnetic field directly before crosslinking inducing the aggregation of dense Fe3O4 nanoparticle lines with in-plane and out-of-plane directions.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 570-582; doi:10.3390/mi5030570 - published 22 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Results obtained during the evaluation of radio frequency (RF) reliability carried out on several devices fabricated with different epi-structure and field-plate geometries will be presented and discussed. Devices without a field-plate structure experienced a more severe degradation when compared to their counterparts while no significant correlation has been observed with respect of the different epi-structure tested. RF stress induced two main changes in the device electrical characteristics, i.e., an increase in drain current dispersion and a reduction in gate-leakage currents. Both of these phenomena can be explained by assuming a density increase of an acceptor trap located beneath the gate contact and in the device barrier layer. Numerical simulations carried out with the aim of supporting the proposed mechanism will also be presented.
Micromachines2014, 5(3), 558-569; doi:10.3390/mi5030558 - published 21 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We present two simple methods, with parallel and serial gas flows, for the stacking of microfabricated silicon fuel cells with integrated current collectors, flow fields and gas diffusion layers. The gas diffusion layer is implemented using black silicon. In the two stacking methods proposed in this work, the fluidic apertures and gas flow topology are rotationally symmetric and enable us to stack fuel cells without an increase in the number of electrical or fluidic ports or interconnects. Thanks to this simplicity and the structural compactness of each cell, the obtained stacks are very thin (~1.6 mm for a two-cell stack). We have fabricated two-cell stacks with two different gas flow topologies and obtained an open-circuit voltage (OCV) of 1.6 V and a power density of 63 mW·cm−2, proving the viability of the design.