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Publication Title | SUPERCRITICAL CARBON DIOXIDE EXTRACTION OF SOLVENT FROM MICROMACHINED STRUCTURES

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SUPERCRITICAL CARBON DIOXIDE EXTRACTION OF SOLVENT FROM MICROMACHINED STRUCTURES*

Edward M. Russick1, Carol L. J. Adkins1, and Christopher W. Dyck2

1Organic Material Processing Department, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185-0367

2Microelectronics Technologies Department, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185-1078

We have demonstrated that supercritical carbon dioxide extraction can be used for solvent removal to successfully release compliant surface micromachined structures on silicon wafers developed at Sandia National Laboratories. Structures that have been successfully extracted and released include single gear microengines, bridge and cantilever beams, pressure transducers, and experimental comb drive actuators. Since the supercritical fluid has negligible surface tension, it has virtually unabated access to solvent residing in capillary-like spaces as narrow as 1-3 μm under the micromachined features. While conventional drying techniques have been plagued with the collapse and sticking of micromachined structures due to surface tension effects, supercritical carbon dioxide has been shown to reproducibly dry components and test structures, including bridge and cantilever beams approaching 1000 μm in length, without collapsing. The equipment and the extraction process are described, and photographs of supercritically dried test structures and components are presented.

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