Erik M. Wheeler

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The need for more robust micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) devices is greatly increasing. But, along with new technologies come problems, which need to be addressed. One of the more important problems is stiction. Stiction is the strong interfacial adhesion present between contacting crystalline microstructure surfaces. This often causes many MEMS devices to fail. A new method of overcoming stiction has been disclosed. Electrons are stored at the interface between silicon dioxide and silicon nitride to create a force when an external applied electric field is applied to a MEMS component containing the stored charge. The purpose of this project was to devise a method of putting electrons into the oxide-nitride interface by ballistic injection of electrons through the use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM), a Manufacturing Electron Beam Exposure System (MEBES), and an electron flood gun. The amount of charge is measured by the degree of shift of the flatband voltage of the structure. Although initial data shows the order of magnitude of electrons stored at the oxide-nitride interface via ballistic injection is less than that using high field conditions the experimentation provides a proof of concept.

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