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

United States Patent

November 18, 2003
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
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.
Rodgers; M. Steven (Albuquerque, NM), Sniegowski; Jeffry J. (Edgewood, NM), Krygowski; Thomas W. (Tarrytown, NY)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
10/ 098,214
March 18, 2002
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.