Novel imaging system for measuring microscale curvatures at high temperatures

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Review of Scientific Instruments

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An innovative system was designed to optically measure the curvature of microelectromechanical system at high temperatures. The system takes advantage of the limited numerical aperture of the imaging system to detect the curvature of cantilever beams. Images of the beam are used to determine beam curvature at high temperatures of up to 850°C by analyzing the apparent change in beam length as seen by the camera during an experimental trial. The system is designed to operate at very high temperatures, which is difficult in conventional microscale curvature measurement techniques such as scanning electron microscopy or stylus profilometry due to excess heating of peripheral equipment. The system can measure curvatures as small as 300 m-1, which corresponds to tip deflections of 1.5 μm for a 100 μm beam. The resolution of the system is limited by the image resolution of the charge-coupled device camera, and increases at large curvatures. The maximum curvature that can be measured by the system is limited by the increase in system resolution, and is estimated to be 4500 m-1, corresponding to 22 μm deflection for a 100 μm beam. The apparatus was demonstrated to measure the thermally induced curvature of multilayered thin-film cantilever beams. The beams bend at high temperatures due to mismatch in thermal expansion coefficients between the layers. One innovative application of such curvature measurement is the determination of thermophysical properties of thin films at elevated temperatures. This article presents the experimental setup and operational theory of apparatus, as well as curvature measurements obtained by the system. The thermal expansion coefficient of polycrystalline silicon, determined from the curvature measurements, are also discussed. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.





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