JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING, vol.14, no.8, pp.1148-1156, 2004 (SCI-Expanded)
A self-aligned vertical comb-drive actuator for a two-axis tilt scanning micromirror is presented. Self-alignment between moving and fixed fingers is essential in order to avoid lateral instability leading to an in-plane rotational pull-in during an actuation. Multilayered masking films have been utilized to fabricate the self-aligned comb fingers. To generate high electrostatic torque, high-aspect ratio comb-drive actuators with 40 mum thick fingers have been realized on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer utilizing deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) technology. A delay-mask process (DMP) was employed in an etching step of a silicon device layer to assist etching of a buried oxide (BOX) layer at the bottom of narrow (5 mum) and deep (40 mum) silicon trenches. The DC mechanical scan angles of the actuators employed in the two-axis tilt, gimbal-configured micromirror were measured as +/-2.1degrees at 48 V around an inner axis and +/-1.8degrees at 44 V around an outer axis, respectively. The fabricated micromirror with a mirror area of 1 mm x 1 mm has mechanical resonant frequencies of 1.2 kHz around the inner axis (a mirror only) and 0.9 kHz around the outer axis (a frame and the mirror), respectively.