Surface–micromachined rotatable member having a low-contact-area hub

Patent Number: 6,402,969
Issued: 6/11/2002
Official Filing: View the Complete Patent
Abstract: A surface-micromachined rotatable member formed on a substrate and a method for manufacturing thereof are disclosed. The surface-micromachined rotatable member, which can be a gear or a rotary stage, has a central hub, and an annulus connected to the central hub by an overarching bridge. The hub includes a stationary axle support attached to the substrate and surrounding an axle. The axle is retained within the axle support with an air-gap spacing therebetween of generally 0.3 .mu.m or less. The rotatable member can be formed by alternately depositing and patterning layers of a semiconductor (e.g. polysilicon or a silicon-germanium alloy) and a sacrificial material and then removing the sacrificial material, at least in part. The present invention has applications for forming micromechanical or microelectromechanical devices requiring lower actuation forces, and providing improved reliability.
Filed: 8/15/2000
Application Number: 9/639,656
Government Interests: STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-NA0003525 awarded by the United States Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration. The Government has certain rights in the invention.