Direct polymer microcantilever fabrication from free-standing dry film photoresists

Traditionally, polymeric microcantilevers are assembled by a multitude of process steps comprising liquid spin-coated photoresists and rigid substrate materials. Polymer microcantilevers presented in this work rely instead on commercially available dry film photoresists and allowed an omittance of multiple fabrication steps. Thin, 5 μm thick dry film photoresists are thermally laminated onto prepatterned silicon substrates that contain AFM compatible probe bodies. Partially suspended dry film resists are formed between these probe bodies, which are patterned to yield microcantilevers using conventional photolithography protocols. A limited amount of thermal cycling is required, and sacrificial probe-release layers are omitted as microcantilevers form directly through resist development. Even 1 mm long polymeric cantilevers were fabricated this way with superior in-plane alignment. The general effects of post-exposure bake (PEB) and hardbake protocols on cantilever deflection are discussed. Generally, higher PEB temperatures limit out-of-plane cantilever bending. Hardbake improved vertical alignment only of high-PEB temperature cantilevers, while surprisingly worsening the alignment of low-PEB temperature cantilevers. The mechanism behind the latter is likely explained by complex interactions between the resist and the substrate related to differences in thermal expansion, heat conduction, as well as resist cross-linking gradients. We present furthermore multilayer structures of dry film resists, specifically cylindrical dry film resist pillars on the polymer cantilever, as well as the integration of metal structures onto the polymer cantilever, which should enable in future integrated piezoresistive deflection readout for various sensing applications. Finally, cantilever spring constants were determined by measuring force–displacement curves with an advanced cantilever calibration device, allowing also the determination of both, dry film resist cantilever density and Young's modulus.


Citation style:
Could not load citation form.


Use and reproduction: