Nanotribological characterization of digital micromirror devices using an atomic force microscope

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Texas Instruments' digital micromirror device {(DMD)} comprises an array of fast digital micromirrors, monolithically integrated onto and controlled by an underlying silicon memory chip. The {DMD} is one of the few success stories in the emerging field of {MEMS.} In this study, an atomic force microscope {(AFM)} has been used to characterize the nanotribological properties of the elements of the {DMD.} An {AFM} methodology was developed to identify and remove micromirrors of interest. The surface roughness, adhesion, friction, and stiffness properties of the {DMD} elements were studied. The influence of relative humidity and temperature on the behavior of the {DMD} element surfaces was also investigated. Potential mechanisms for wear and stiction are discussed in light of the findings.

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