Tactile 3D probing system for measuring MEMS with nanometer uncertainty : aspects of probing, design, manufacturing and assembly

E.J.C. Bos

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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Measurement underpins manufacturing technology, or in more popular terms: when you cannot measure it, you cannot manufacture it. This is true on any dimensional scale, so for microand nanotechnology to deliver manufactured products it must be supported by reliable metrology. Component miniaturization in the field of precision engineering and the development of micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) thus results in a demand for suitable measurement instruments for complex three-dimensional components with feature dimensions in the micrometer region and associated dimensional tolerances below 100 nm. As will be discussed in the first chapter of this thesis, several ultra precision coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are developed. These CMMs are suitable for measuring complex threedimensional products, like MEMS and other miniaturized components. From a discussion on available probe systems in the first chapter it is apparent that, with respect to measurement uncertainty and applicability of measurements on MEMS and other miniaturized components, the performance of ultra precision CMMs is currently limited by the performance of available probe systems. The main reason is that the measurement using a probe system is not purely influenced by work piece topography, but also by interaction physics between probe tip and work piece. As the dimensional scale of the measurement decreases, the problems associated with this interaction become increasingly apparent. Typical aspects of this interaction include the influence of contact forces on plastic deformations in the contact region, surface forces and geometric and thermal effects. The influence of these aspects on the measurement result is discussed in the second chapter. This chapter will combine results from literature, simulation and experimental results to discuss the aspects that influence the measurement result in tactile probes. From these results it will become apparent that these aspects underlie the limitation for precision measurements on miniaturized components using tactile CMM metrology. As a result, these interaction aspects are the main challenge when designing ultra precision probes. The analysis of the interaction physics is used in the design of a novel silicon probing system with integrated piezo resistive strain gauges to measure a displacement of the probe tip. The result is a probe system with a colliding mass of 34 mg and an isotropic stiffness at the probe tip with a stiffness down to 50 N/m. The measurement range of the probing system is 30 µm, but in most measurements a range of 10 µm is used which slightly improves the signal to noise ratio. Calibration results using the planar differential laser interferometer setup as discussed in chapter 1 show a standard deviation of 2 nm over 2000 measurement points taken in a 6 hour time frame over a repeated 5.5 µm displacement. The combined 3D uncertainty of the probing system is estimated to be 17.4 nm. In order to measure micrometer scale structures, including holes and trenches, the probing system can be equipped with micrometer scale probe tips. The main limitation is the relative stiffness between the stylus and the suspension of the probing system. By design optimization, a ratio between the length and radius of the measurement part of the stylus of 50 can be obtained, making the probing system highly suitable for measuring these micrometer scale structures. So far, probe tips with a radius of 25 µm have been manufactured and work is being done to decrease this radius even further. The probing system is implemented on a high-accuracy coordinate measuring machine and is suitable for three-dimensional tactile measurements on miniaturized components with nanometer uncertainty. A main limitation when manufacturing the probe is assembly of the probe tip, stylus and chip which is discussed in chapter 4. Assembly of the probe is investigated in a series of experiments on an automated assembler. Based on these results, the design of the probe is optimized for assembly and the automated assembler is made suitable for assembly of the probe by implementation of a novel suction gripper. This resulted in an improvement in placement uncertainty at the tip by a factor of 10 and an increase in yield during assembly from 60 - 80% initially, to over 95%. In chapter 5 several experimental results with the probe system are discussed, including a quantification of the effects of surface forces on tactile measurements. It is shown that these effects are highly repeatable and result in an attraction of 40 µN and 60 µN in the xy- and z-direction, respectively. Moreover, it is shown that the influence of surface forces on a measurement in the xy-plane can be observed for a separation of 500 µm or less. Finally, conclusions and recommendations for further research are discussed in chapter 6.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Dietzel, Andreas, Promotor
  • Schellekens, Piet, Promotor
  • Delbressine, Frank L.M., Copromotor
Award date8 Apr 2008
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Print ISBNs978-90-386-1216-4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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