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420 PROCEEDINGS OF THE IEEE, VOL. 70, NO. 5, MAY 1982 Silicon as a Mechanical Material KURT E. PETERSEN, MEMBER, IEEE Abstract-Single-crystal silicon is being increasingly employed in a variety of new commercial products not because of its well-established electronic properties, but rather because of its excellent mechanical properties . In addition, recent trends in the engineering literature indi- cate a growing interest in the use of silicon as a mechanical material with the ultimate goal of developing a broad range of inexpensive, batch-fabricated, high-performance sensors and transducers which are easily interfaced with the rapidly proliferating microprocessor. This review describes the advantages of employing silicon as a mechanical material, the relevant mechanical characteristics of silicon, and the pro- cessing techniques which are specific to micromechanical structures. Finally, the potentials of this new technology are illustrated by numer- ous detailed examples from the literature. It is clear that silicon will continue to be aggressively exploited in a wide variety of mechanical applications complementary to its traditional role as an electronic material. Furthermore, these multidisciplinary uses of silicon will significantly alter the way we think about all types of miniature me chanical devices and componenta I. INTRODUCTION . IN THE SAME WAY that silicon has already revolutionized the way we think about electronics, this versatile material is now in the process of altering conventional perceptions of miniature mechanical devices and components [ 1]. At least eight firms now manufacture and/or market silicon-based pres- sure transducers [ 2] (first manufactured commercially over 10 years ago), some with active devices or entire circuits integrated on the same silicon chip and some rated up to 10 000 psi. Texas Instruments has been marketing a thermal point head [ 3] in several computer terminal and plotter products in which the active printing element abrasively contacting the paper is a silicon integrated circuit chip . The crucial detector component of a high-bandwidth frequency synthesizer sold by Hewlett- Packard is a silicon chip [4] from which cantilever beams have been etched to provide thermally isolated regions for the diode detectors. High-precision alignment and coupling assemblies for fiber-optic communications &stems are produced by Western Electric from anisotropically etched silicon chips simply because this is the only technique capable of the high accuracies required. Within IBM, ink jet nozzle arrays and charge plate assemblies etched into silicon wafers [5] have been ’ demonstrated, again because of the high precision capa- bilities of silicon IC technology. These examples of silicon micromechanics are not laboratory curiosities. Most are well- established, commercial developments conceived within about the last 10 years.
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This note was uploaded on 09/02/2010 for the course MEEN 5050 taught by Professor Himanshuj.sant during the Spring '10 term at Utah.

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