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Fabrication of helically perforated gold, nickel, and polystyrene thin films

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3 Author(s)
Elias, A.L. ; Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta., Canada ; Harris, K.D. ; Brett, Michael J.

Helical microstructures are of interest for MEMS devices because of their spring-like shape. However, helices with micron and submicron dimensions are difficult to engineer using conventional processing techniques where patterning is accomplished lithographically. In this paper, we report the fabrication of porous gold, nickel, and polystyrene thin films with helical pore architectures. All films were made using a replication process, in which a thin film comprised of independent helical microstructures acted as the template. Filling of the template with metals was achieved by electroplating through the microstructures, whereas filling with polystyrene was achieved by capillary action. Porous films were produced from these composites by wet etch removal of the template material. Typical helical pores were on the order of 100 nm in diameter and extended through a film 1 μm to 2 μm thick. These films were generally more robust than the films from which they were templated, since they consisted of a solid network with helical pores rather than individual structures. Polymer and metal films with helical pores could be used for sensor and catalytic devices that take advantage of the chemical properties of these materials. Polymer films are also of interest for mechanical sensor and actuator devices since they are expected to be more compliant than both traditional MEMS materials and the films from which they were templated.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 5 )