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Microelectromechanical (MEMS) Device Specimen Preparation

Metallographic etchant database

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices are also referred to as micromachines. MEMS devices are made up of components varying in size between 1 micron to 0.1 mm.

Microstructural cross section preparation of MEMS devices presents the same challenges as polishing other specimens having material properties ranging from very hard and brittle (silicon, ceramics, etc.) to soft and ductile (soft metals, metallized layers, sputter coating, etc.). Specimen preparation must eliminate any preparation induced artifacts, as well as maintain the planarity of the specimen.


Diamond wafering blade - medium grit/low concentration (if required)

Castable epoxy or acrylic resins




Force/ sample



600 grit SiC gridning paper


5-10 lbs

100/100 rpm

Until plane

1 um DIAMAT diamond on TEXPAN polishing pad

SIAMAT colloidal silica

5-10 lbs

100/100 rpm

3-5 minutes

SIAMAT colloidal silica on a BLACKCHEM 2 polishing pad


5-10 lbs

100/100 rpm

3-5 minutes

Aluminum silicon substrate MEMS device with a gold bond on a nickel layer

Aluminum-silicon substrate MEMS device with a gold bond on a nickel intermediate layer, Mag. 200X, as polished

Electronic die cross section microstructure
Wire bond for MEMS device, 200X, as polished
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