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On-chip tests for the characterization of the mechanical strength of polysilicon
* 1 , 1 , 1 , 2 , 2 , 2 , 2
1  Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
2  STMicroelectronics, AMS Group - R&D, Italy
Academic Editor: Francisco Falcone


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are nowadays widespread in the sensor market with a number of different applications. New production techniques and ever smaller device geometries require a continuous investigation of potential failure mechanisms in such devices. This work presents an experimental on-chip setup to assess the geometry- and material-dependent strength of stoppers adopted to limit the deformation of movable parts, using an electrostatically actuated device. A series of comb-fingers and parallel plates are used to provide a rather large stoke to a shuttle, connected to the anchors through flexible springs. Upon application of a varying voltage, failure of stoppers of variable size is observed and confirmed by postmortem ΔC-V curves. Results of an experimental campaign are collected to infer the stochastic property of the strength of polycrystalline, columnar silicon films.

Keywords: polysilicon tensile strength; polysilicon thin films; on-chip mechanical testing