A high aspect ratio surface micromachined accelerometer based on a SiC-CNT composite material

Jiarui Mo, Shreyas Shankar, Roberto Pezone, Guoqi Zhang, Sten Vollebregt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Silicon carbide (SiC) is recognized as an excellent material for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), especially those operating in challenging environments, such as high temperature, high radiation, and corrosive environments. However, SiC bulk micromachining is still a challenge, which hinders the development of complex SiC MEMS. To address this problem, we present the use of a carbon nanotube (CNT) array coated with amorphous SiC (a-SiC) as an alternative composite material to enable high aspect ratio (HAR) surface micromachining. By using a prepatterned catalyst layer, a HAR CNT array can be grown as a structural template and then densified by uniformly filling the CNT bundle with LPCVD a-SiC. The electrical properties of the resulting SiC-CNT composite were characterized, and the results indicated that the electrical resistivity was dominated by the CNTs. To demonstrate the use of this composite in MEMS applications, a capacitive accelerometer was designed, fabricated, and measured. The fabrication results showed that the composite is fully compatible with the manufacturing of surface micromachining devices. The Young’s modulus of the composite was extracted from the measured spring constant, and the results show a great improvement in the mechanical properties of the CNTs after coating with a-SiC. The accelerometer was electrically characterized, and its functionality was confirmed using a mechanical shaker. (Figure presented.)

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalMicrosystems and Nanoengineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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