Surface tension/thermal mismatch in a self-assembly process

R. M. Chao, C. C. Hsu, F. I. Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Surface tension is increasingly used for the self-assembly of 3D microstructures. This paper studies the use of a benzocyclobutene (BCB) photo-resist material for the out-of-plane rotation via self-assembly behavior of a silicon micro-part. The literature discusses both surface-tension self-assembly and thermal-mismatch self-assembly, but these two topics are treated separately. Due to its relatively large thermal expansion coefficient, the BCB photo-resist material exhibits both surface-tension and thermal-mismatch effects during self-assembly. Therefore, the residual stresses induced by the self-assembly process on the interface between the melting pad and the microstructure are an issue that needs clarification. In order to quantify the shear stress on the interface, a micro-cantilever test specimen is designed and fabricated by a two-mask self-assembly process using a BSOI wafer and DRIE etching. Two cantilever designs are compared, one having a single section of photo-resist coverage and the other having two sections of photo-resist coverage. The MSC/NASTRAN finite-element method with an interfacial shear-lag model is used to estimate the deflection of the cantilever beam due to residual stresses from surface tension and thermal shrinkage. A clamped-edge-body- rotation model is proposed in order to calibrate measurement results by confocal optical microscopy with numerical results. The interfacial shear between the BCB photo-resist and the silicon structure is found to range from 0.4 to 1.0 MPa due to thermal shrinkage (after soft bake and structure release). The residual stress from surface tension (after material reflow and self-assembly) depends on the thickness of the PR layer and in some cases is twice the residual stress from material mismatch. Finally, a micro-mirror design employing BCB melting pads is presented to verify a self-assembly process powered by both surface tension and thermal mismatch.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115002
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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