SUMMiT V™ fabrication process and SAMPLES™ program

Award Year 

Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL) Ultraplanar, Multilevel MEMS Technology (SUMMiT™) fab-rication process is a MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) batch fabrication process that uses conventional integrated circuit processing tools to achieve high volume, low cost MEMS production. SNL’s SUMMiT V™ technology is unique in that it is the only MEMS technology currently available that offers four levels of struc-tural polycrystalline silicon (poly) and an electri-cal poly level isolated from the silicon substrate and (more) that is fabricated using traditional integrated circuit processing techniques.Micromachined polysilicon has excellent me-chanical properties—it is stronger than steel, extremely flexible, and does not readily fatigue. The design flexibility in a five-layer technology is staggering. Examples include photonic commu-nications, wireless communications, automotive accelerometers, lab-on-chip systems, and smart sensors for myriad applications, such as chemi-cal-biological sensors and micro-fluidic devices. Additionally, devices for applications that have not yet been imagined are now a possibility. To facilitate MEMS education and access to its cutting-edge SUMMiT™ process technology, SNL launched the Sandia Agile MEMS Proto-typing Layout Tools, Education and Services (or SAMPLES™) Program in 2001. The objective of the SAMPLES™ Program is to enable cus-tomers to develop their own innovative MEMS-based products by leveraging advanced design, fabrication (utilizing the baseline SUMMiT IV™ and V™ technologies), and characterization technologies originally developed for federal laboratory applications. Program participants can attend short courses, purchase design and visualization software and, ultimately, have those designs fabricated at SNL through a cost-shared program. This approach reduces cost and risk and thus opens the door to a larger market, fa-cilitating the realization of prototypes and a bet-ter understanding of MEMS in general. To date, the SAMPLES™ Program has enabled the fabrication of 145 individual modules of part-ner designs using the SUMMiT™ technology. The program has also generated 49 Work for Others agreements and over 75 software licens-es related to the SUMMiT™ fabrication process-es. Over 800 students representing dozens of companies, universities, and national laborato-ries have participated in SAMPLES™ classes. (less)