Fabrication of thin SU-8 cantilevers: initial bending, release and time stability

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    SU-8 cantilevers with a thickness of 2 mu m were fabricated using a dry release method and two steps of SU-8 photolithography. The processing of the thin SU-8 film defining the cantilevers was experimentally optimized to achieve low initial bending due to residual stress gradients. In parallel, the rotational deformation at the clamping point allowed a qualitative assessment of the device release from the fluorocarbon-coated substrate. The change of these parameters during several months of storage at ambient temperature was investigated in detail. The introduction of a long hard bake in an oven after development of the thin SU-8 film resulted in reduced cantilever bending due to removal of residual stress gradients. Further, improved time-stability of the devices was achieved due to the enhanced cross-linking of the polymer. A post-exposure bake at a temperature T-PEB = 50 degrees C followed by a hard bake at T-HB = 90 degrees C proved to be optimal to ensure low cantilever bending and low rotational deformation due to excellent device release and low change of these properties with time. With the optimized process, the reproducible fabrication of arrays with 2 mu m thick cantilevers with a length of 500 mu m and an initial bending of less than 20 mu m was possible. The theoretical spring constant of these cantilevers is k = 4.8 +/- 2.5 mN m(-1), which is comparable to the value for Si cantilevers with identical dimensions and a thickness of 500 nm.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)45024
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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