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Self-buckling behavior of micromachined beams under resistive heating is described by an electromechanical model with experimental verifications. This model consists of both electrothermal and thermoelastic analyses for beam-shape polysilicon microstructures that are fabricated by a standard surface micromachining process. When an input electrical current is applied, Joule-heating effects trigger the thermal expansion of beam structures and cause mechanical buckling. The standard testing devices are clamped-clamped bridges, 2-/spl mu/m wide, 2-/spl mu/m thick, and 100-/spl mu/m long. It is found that a minimum current of 3.5 mA is required to cause beam buckling. Under an input current of 4.8 mA, a lateral deflection of 2.9/spl plusmn/0.2 /spl mu/m at the center of the bridge is measured with a computer image processing scheme. The experimental measurements are found to be consistent with analytical predictions. A discussion of modeling considerations and process variations is presented.
Date of Publication: March 2000