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Realisation of very high voltage electrode-nozzle systems for MEMS

Realisation of very high voltage electrode-nozzle systems for MEMS
Realisation of very high voltage electrode-nozzle systems for MEMS
A number of applications would benefit from MEMS devices that can produce very strong electrical fields with high potential differences; in particular the production and acceleration of ions or charged droplets for spacecraft or biomedical applications. We have carried out investigations into the use of silicon dioxide as an insulator in MEMS devices designed for such applications. The work focuses on axisymmetric electrode configurations that produce 108 V/m electrical fields close to the axis, in vacuum. To accelerate ions to high velocities (>100 m/s) potentials of over 1 kV are required. MOS devices, consisting of aluminium insulated from the silicon substrate by SiO2, were produced with a number of different geometries. Thermal oxides of 2 µm thickness and thermal oxides augmented by 2 µm of CVD oxide were tested for the maximum voltage held before permanent destruction. The insulator surface between two electrodes placed 50 µm apart, successfully held voltages of over 3 kV without surface flashover. We have shown that breakdown occurred through the oxide with a mean hold-off voltage of 1340 V for 2 µm oxides and 2960 V for 4 µm oxides. In the course of the experiments, we have found the importance of chip cleanliness, voltage polarity and the external measuring circuit.
thruster, electrospray, silicon dioxide, breakdown, high voltage
0924-4247
112-117
Paine, M.D.
f56e254d-b99d-4283-8712-0246d6e43717
Gabriel, S.
ac76976d-74fd-40a0-808d-c9f68a38f259
Schabmueller, C.G.J.
aed55c14-478b-47e7-b94c-6c8a6b673773
Evans, A.G.R.
082f720d-3830-46d7-ba87-b058af733bc3
Paine, M.D.
f56e254d-b99d-4283-8712-0246d6e43717
Gabriel, S.
ac76976d-74fd-40a0-808d-c9f68a38f259
Schabmueller, C.G.J.
aed55c14-478b-47e7-b94c-6c8a6b673773
Evans, A.G.R.
082f720d-3830-46d7-ba87-b058af733bc3

Paine, M.D., Gabriel, S., Schabmueller, C.G.J. and Evans, A.G.R. (2004) Realisation of very high voltage electrode-nozzle systems for MEMS. Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, 114 (1), 112-117. (doi:10.1016/j.sna.2004.02.013).

Record type: Article

Abstract

A number of applications would benefit from MEMS devices that can produce very strong electrical fields with high potential differences; in particular the production and acceleration of ions or charged droplets for spacecraft or biomedical applications. We have carried out investigations into the use of silicon dioxide as an insulator in MEMS devices designed for such applications. The work focuses on axisymmetric electrode configurations that produce 108 V/m electrical fields close to the axis, in vacuum. To accelerate ions to high velocities (>100 m/s) potentials of over 1 kV are required. MOS devices, consisting of aluminium insulated from the silicon substrate by SiO2, were produced with a number of different geometries. Thermal oxides of 2 µm thickness and thermal oxides augmented by 2 µm of CVD oxide were tested for the maximum voltage held before permanent destruction. The insulator surface between two electrodes placed 50 µm apart, successfully held voltages of over 3 kV without surface flashover. We have shown that breakdown occurred through the oxide with a mean hold-off voltage of 1340 V for 2 µm oxides and 2960 V for 4 µm oxides. In the course of the experiments, we have found the importance of chip cleanliness, voltage polarity and the external measuring circuit.

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More information

Published date: 2004
Keywords: thruster, electrospray, silicon dioxide, breakdown, high voltage

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 22704
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/22704
ISSN: 0924-4247
PURE UUID: 4be8fd32-be6d-4ae0-9e03-6947041289c7

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Date deposited: 22 Mar 2006
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 19:22

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