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Presents a thermomechanical model that describes adhesion reduction in MEMS structures using laser heating. A fracture mechanics model is developed where the interface between the stiction-failed microcantilever and the substrate is treated as a crack, and the energy release rate is calculated using elastic theory. In order to include the effect of a temperature difference between the microcantilever and the substrate, an associated thermal strain energy is included in the fracture model. If the free length is longer than the critical buckling length, the beam buckles decreasing the strain energy of the system. For surface-micromachined polycrystalline silicon cantilevers with an initial crack length of 400 μm, the model predicts that a temperature difference of 100 K repairs microcantilevers as long as 1300 μm. The peeling of adhered beams from the substrate after laser irradiation is experimentally shown with measured crack lengths within 15% of predicted values indicating that the proposed model establishes the mechanism of adhesion reduction by laser irradiation.