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Localized bonding schemes for the assembly and packaging of polymer-based microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices have been successfully demonstrated. These include three bonding systems of plastics-to-silicon, plastics-to-glass, and plastics-to-plastics combinations based on two bonding processes of localized resistive heating: 1) built-in resistive heaters and 2) reusable resistive heaters. In the prototype demonstrations, aluminum thin films are deposited and patterned as resistive heaters and plastic materials are locally melted and solidified for bonding. A typical contact pressure of 0.4 MPa is applied to assure intimate contact of the two bonding substrates and the localized bonding process is completed within less than 0.25 s of heating. It is estimated that the local temperature at the bonding interface can reach above 150°C while the substrate temperature away from the heaters can be controlled to be under 40°C during the bonding process. The approach of localized heating for bonding of plastic materials while maintaining low temperature globally enables direct sealing of polymer-based MEMS without dispensing additional adhesives or damaging preexisting, temperature-sensitive substances. Furthermore, water encapsulation by plastics-to-plastics bonding is successfully performed to demonstrate the capability of low temperature processing. As such, this technique can be applied broadly in plastic assembly, packaging, and liquid encapsulation for microsystems, including microfluidic devices.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2005