A micromachined electrical cauterizer. Microstructures are combined with microelectrodes for highly localized electro cauterization. Using boron etch stops and surface micromachining, microneedles with very smooth surfaces are made. Micromachining also allows for precision placement of electrodes by photolithography with micron sized gaps to allow for concentrated electric fields. A microcauterizer is fabricated by bulk etching silicon to form knife edges, then parallelly placed microelectrodes with gaps as small as 5 .mu.m are patterned and aligned adjacent the knife edges to provide homeostasis while cutting tissue. While most of the microelectrode lines are electrically insulated from the atmosphere by depositing and patterning silicon dioxide on the electric feedthrough portions, a window is opened in the silicon dioxide to expose the parallel microelectrode portion. This helps reduce power loss and assist in focusing the power locally for more efficient and safer procedures.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.