Process Variability in Micro-Embossing
Author(s)Hardt, David E.; Ganesan, Bala; Dirckx, Matthew; Shoji, Grant; Thaker, Kunal; Qi, Wang; ... Show more Show less
A promising technique for the large-scale manufacture of micro-fluidic devices and photonic devices is hot embossing of polymers such as PMMA. Micro-embossing is a deformation process where the workpiece material is heated to permit easier material flow and then forced over a planar patterned tool. While there has been considerable, attention paid to process feasibility very little effort has been put into production issues such as process capability and eventual process control. In this paper, we present initial studies aimed at identifying the origins and magnitude of variability for embossing features at the micron scale in PMMA. Test parts with features ranging from 3.5- 630 µm wide and 0.9 µm deep were formed. Measurements at this scale proved very difficult, and only atomic force microscopy was able to provide resolution sufficient to identify process variations. It was found that standard deviations of widths at the 3-4 µm scale were on the order of 0.5 µm leading to a coefficient of variation as high as 13%. Clearly, the transition from test to manufacturing for this process will require understanding the causes of this variation and devising control methods to minimize its magnitude over all types of parts.
Innovation in Manufacturing Systems and Technology (IMST);
Microembossing, PMMA, Variability, Process Control