Controlling adhesion between multi-asperity contacting surfaces in MEMS devices by local heating

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


In this work, we have incorporated heaters in a MEMS device, which allow the in situ local heating of its contacting surfaces. This design offers a promising solution for MEMS devices with contacting components by preventing capillary-induced adhesion. The force of adhesion was assessed by optically measuring in-plane snap-off displacements. We were able to decrease adhesion from 500 nN to 200 nN with just one heated surface of which the temperature was set above 300 °C. The temperature should not be set too high: we observed increased adhesion due to a direct bonding process once the temperature was increased above 750 °C. Remarkably, adhesion increased by heating from room temperature to 75 °C, which is attributed to more water being transferred to the contact area due to faster kinetics. We observed the same effect in the cases where both surfaces were heated, although at slightly different temperatures. We demonstrated that heating only one surface to between 300 °C and 750 °C is sufficient to significantly lower adhesion, due to the removal of capillary menisci. The required heater is typically most easily implemented in a stationary part of the device.
Original languageEnglish
Article number095020
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • MEMS device
  • adhesion
  • stiction
  • displacement
  • temperature
  • micro-Raman spectroscopy
  • capillary condensation


Dive into the research topics of 'Controlling adhesion between multi-asperity contacting surfaces in MEMS devices by local heating'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this