The MEMS industry currently produces over $13 billion in annual revenue, with devices in such diverse applications as blood pressure sensors, projection displays, optical switches, printers, hard drives, and gyroscopes. As production techniques improve, ever more functions may be served by MEMS, and the industry is growing at an annual rate of more than 15%. The large diversity of MEMS leads to many challenges in metrology, as each design has different critical
factors which will affect its performance. Unlike traditional semiconductor devices, MEMS require characterization both in their static state and under actuation. Parameters of interest include shape, dimensions, surface roughness, sidewall angles, film thickness, residual stress, feature volumes, response times, thermal properties, resonance frequencies, stiction, environmental immunity and more. This talk will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of techniques for MEMS surface metrology. Bright- and
dark-field microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, contact and non-contact surface profilometry, atomic force microscopy, laser Doppler vibrometry and digital holography are some of the primary techniques used to evaluate MEMS surfaces and motion. While no single technique can fully characterize all MEMS devices, or even one device under all conditions, the utility of each of the different types of instruments is increasing as they are pushed by MEMS and other industries to provide more characterization capability. With a broad understanding of the various metrology techniques available, the one or few critical instruments to measure a given class of devices will hopefully be more easily understood.