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Patent Portfolio for Sale:

Integrated MEMS Fabrication Methods    

Integrated fabrication steps to produce stiction free MEMS devices

Overview

The patent portfolio describes integrated methods of fabricating MEMS devices to provide unique surface properties, such as free moving surfaces in response to stimulation, passivation and hydrophobic coatings. The free moving surfaces are fabricated in a series of steps which includes a release method, where release is accomplished by series of etching and cleaning steps to remove contaminants which may lead to stiction. The final etch/clean cycle is followed by a surface passivation step where the clean surfaces are passivated and coated with proper film. The methods used improve the adhesion of a hydrophobic self-assembled monolayer (SAM) coating to a surface of a MEMS structure, for the purpose of preventing stiction. The integrated method for release and passivation of MEMS structures may be adjusted to be carried out in a either a single chamber processing system or a multi-chamber processing system.

Total of 9 granted US Patents with broad, valuable claims covering the following areas:
Etching/release of MEMS structures followed by cleaning steps to remove native oxide and passivation process
- HF vapor as etchant
- Passivation of various types of monolayer
- Integrated method of release and passivation
- Pretreatment with hydrogen source prior to SAM deposition

Etch/release a MEMS structure using a gaseous aqueous HF mixture to isotropically etch a partial opening followed by a adding a drying agent.

Fabrication Of MEMS Structures Using Silicon Components electrically isolated by a fluid, e.g. gas or a vacuum. A device (jig) for aligning components used in the fabrication of microelectronic and or micro-optical structures.

Determining the time to etch/release of a MEMS structure using anhydrous HF and a mass monitoring devise such as a quartz crystal microbalance.

Forming of microstructure and MEMS devices using a semiconductive substrate, a conductive material such as Titanium nitride; etching /releasing steps to form a MEMS structure.

Chemical mechanical jet etching of SEMICONDUCTOR structures

Primary Application of the Technology

Primary application is MEMS fabrication.

Other Potential Applications

Other potential applications include:

System on a chip - electronics.
Lab on a chip - medical and pharmaceutical.

Competitive Advantage

Unique fabrication process that generates friction free clean surfaces with improved adhesion of self assembled monolayer coating.

The seller would like to be granted a license back.

Additional Information

Highly cited patents by industry leaders including:
- Applied Microstructures
- Hewlett Packard
- Texas Instruments
- International Business Machines

Key MEMS technologies covered by broad claims
- Etching/release of MEM structures
- Cleaning
- Passivation of various types of monolayers
- Integrated method of release and passivation
- Pretreatment with hydrogen source prior to SAM deposition
- Endpoint to etch/release
- Chemical mechanical jet etching of SEMICONDUCTOR structures

Offer important advantages in a number of critical and essential applications
- Isotropic etch/release using HF vapor
- Cleaning steps to remove native oxide and passivation process
- Use of Self Align Monolayer for passivation and anti-stiction
- Cluster tool concept to enhance efficiency and throughput
- Jet etching for Silicon wafer thinning

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Patent Summary

U.S. Patent Classes & Classifications Covered in this listing:

Class 156: Adhesive Bonding And Miscellaneous Chemical Manufacture

This is the generic class for: Manufacturing processes and apparatus; manufacture of articles of commerce in which one of the manufacturing steps includes a chemical reaction; manufacture of panels from settable inorganic compositions; manufacture of electrical conductors of indefinite length.

Subclass 272.2: With direct application of electrical, magnetic, or radiant energy to work
Subclass 273.9: Work constitutes conductor of electrical circuit
Subclass 274.4: Exposure of work to electrode
Subclass 345.11: For liquid etchant
Subclass 345.21: Liquid etchant spray type

Class 65: Glass Manufacturing

(1) processes and/or apparatus for making stock or articles of those ceramic masses, which generally include a "glass former" or an oxide which approaches glass forming properties, in their composition and which are formed by fusion of raw materials (generally mixtures, most of which are of an earthy nature - as distinguished from metallic, organic, etc., - silicon, silica, and slag are included) at ordinary high furnace temperatures, by working (molding, shaping, etc.) of the mass after being melted or changed to a plastic or softened state by heating; and (2) processes and/or apparatus for treating stock or articles made

Subclass 386: Planar waveguides
Subclass 59.1: Of glass to metal part

Class 438: Semiconductor Device Manufacturing: Process

This class provides for manufacturing a semiconductor containing a solid-state device for the following purposes: (a) conducting or modifying an electrical current, (b) storing electrical energy for subsequent discharge within a microelectronic integrated circuit, or (c) converting electromagnetic wave energy to electrical energy or electrical energy to electromagnetic energy. Also operations involving: (1) coating a substrate with a semiconductive material, or (2) coating a semiconductive substrate or substrate containing a semiconductive region. It also provides for operations involving etching a semiconductive substrate or etching a substrate containing a semiconductive region. The class provides for packaging or treatment of packaged semiconductor.

Subclass 106: PACKAGING (E.G., WITH MOUNTING, ENCAPSULATING, ETC.) OR TREATMENT OF PACKAGED SEMICONDUCTOR
Subclass 107: Assembly of plural semiconductive substrates each possessing electrical device
Subclass 108: Flip-chip-type assembly
Subclass 109: Stacked array (e.g., rectifier, etc.)
Subclass 216: Gate insulator structure constructed of diverse dielectrics (e.g., MNOS, etc.) or of nonsilicon compound
Subclass 477: By vapor phase surface reaction
Subclass 48: MAKING DEVICE OR CIRCUIT RESPONSIVE TO NONELECTRICAL SIGNAL
Subclass 50: Physical stress responsive
Subclass 52: Having cantilever element
Subclass 700: Formation of groove or trench
Subclass 706: Vapor phase etching (i.e., dry etching)
Subclass 723: Silicon oxide or glass
Subclass 739: Lateral etching of intermediate layer (i.e., undercutting)
Subclass 745: Liquid phase etching
Subclass 752: Germanium
Subclass 753: Silicon
Subclass 756: Silicon oxide

Class 216: Etching A Substrate: Processes

Chemical etching processes for treating articles of commerce or intermediate articles not otherwise provided for in which one of the manufacturing steps includes a chemical etching step (use of an etchant) and wherein the material treated is not completely removed.

Subclass 103: Etchant contains acid
Subclass 107: Etchant contains fluoride ion
Subclass 2: ETCHING OF SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIAL TO PRODUCE AN ARTICLE HAVING A NONELECTRICAL FUNCTION
Subclass 58: GAS PHASE ETCHING OF SUBSTRATE
Subclass 59: With measuring, testing, or inspecting
Subclass 73: Etching vapor produced by evaporation, boiling, or sublimation
Subclass 74: Etching inorganic substrate
Subclass 79: Etching silicon containing substrate
Subclass 90: Relative movement between the substrate and a confined pool of etchant
Subclass 91: Rotating, repeated dipping, or advancing movement of substrate
Subclass 99: Substrate contains silicon or silicon compound

Class 134: Cleaning And Liquid Contact With Solids

Cleaning, i.e., the separation or removal of adherent dirt, scale, tarnish, impurities or any other foreign or undesired matter from solid materials or objects whether or not the resultant separated ingredients are recovered in whole or in part for subsequent use. Cleaning may be performed by, or may involve as a part thereof, contacting solids with liquids. The contacting of solids with liquids may be for purposes other than cleaning.

Subclass 1.3: Semiconductor cleaning
Subclass 3: Including acidic agent
Subclass 21: Including use of vacuum, suction, or inert atmosphere
Subclass 31: Gas or vapor condensation or absorption oowork
Subclass 34: With treating fluid motion
Subclass 37: Gas or vapor blasts or currents

Class 427: Coating Processes

This is the generic class for: A. applying or obtaining a coating on a surface. The coating may be hard or soft, permanent or transitory, supplied solely by extraneous materials or supplied wholly or in part by the base material. B. impregnating a base by causing a coating material to extend or penetrate into the base material, or into the interstices of a porous, cellular or foraminous material. C. taking preparatory treatments of the base material, subsequent treatments of the coated base material and other ancillary noncoating operations claimed, per se, processes limited to etching for making a base more compatible with, or adherent to, the coating wherein the base is the substrate (work) onto which a coating is applied are included.

Subclass 212: PARTICLES, FLAKES, OR GRANULES COATED OR ENCAPSULATED
Subclass 240: CENTRIFUGAL FORCE UTILIZED
Subclass 350: Vacuum or reduced pressure utilized
Subclass 422: Heated coating material

Class 118: Coating Apparatus

pparatus for applying or obtaining a surface coating on a base and/or apparatus for impregnating base materials and takes all such apparatus not provided for in other classes. The coating obtained may be permanent or transitory. The coating may be supplied solely by extraneous materials, as in a painting or waxing operation, or may be supplied wholly or in part by the base materials as in the formation of an oxide coating on a metal base. The coating may consist of an emulsion, dispersion, solution, admixture or oil which is clearly disclosed as leaving a residual film, layer or continuous deposit on the base.

Subclass 719: Multizone chamber
Subclass 722: With treating means (e.g., jarring)
Subclass 723R: By creating electric field (e.g., gas activation, plasma, etc.)

Class 445: Electric Lamp Or Space Discharge Component Or Device Manufacturing

This is the residual and generic class of process and apparatus for the manufacturing, fabrication, repair, salvage, assembly, disassembly or other treatment of an electric lamp, liquid crystal display device or an electric space discharge device which process or apparatus is not elsewhere classified.

Subclass 24: Display or gas panel making
Subclass 25: With sealing

Class 257: Active Solid-State Devices (E.G., Transistors, Solid-State Diodes)

This class provides for active solid-state electronic devices, that is, electronic devices or components that are made up primarily of solid materials, usually semiconductors, which operate by the movement of charge carriers - electrons or holes - which undergo energy level changes within the material and can modify an input voltage to achieve rectification, amplification, or switching action, and are not classified elsewhere.

Subclass E21.035: Characterized by their composition, e.g., multilayer masks, materials (EPO)
Subclass E21.252: By dry-etching (EPO)
Subclass E21.257: Using mask (EPO)

Class 385: Optical Waveguides

(1) An optical waveguiding element, which conveys light from one point to another through an optically transparent elongated structure by modal transmission, total internal reflection, or total reflectorization. (2) A combination of an optical waveguiding element with an additional broadly recited optical element which couples light or a combination. (3) A combination of an optical waveguiding element with structure which mechanically joins this waveguiding element with another or with a diverse optical element. (4) An optical modulator where the modulation of a light wave characteristic is performed exclusively within an optical waveguiding element. (5) Other miscellaneous devices formed of an optical waveguide (e.g., a waveguide sensing device) and supplemental devices which are limited to use with an optical waveguide (e.g., an external clamp or retainer).

Subclass 129: PLANAR OPTICAL WAVEGUIDE
Subclass 131: Multilayer structure (mixture)

European Patent Classes & Classifications Covered in this listing:

Class C23C4: CHEMISTRY; METALLURGY - COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL

COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMI. Coating by spraying the coating material in the molten state, e.g. by flame, plasma or electric discharge .

Class C23C8: CHEMISTRY; METALLURGY - COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL

COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMI. Solid state diffusion of only non-metal elements into metallic material surfaces .

Class C23C16: CHEMISTRY; METALLURGY - COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL

COATING METALLIC MATERIAL; COATING MATERIAL WITH METALLIC MATERIAL; SURFACE TREATMENT OF METALLIC MATERIAL BY DIFFUSION INTO THE SURFACE, BY CHEMICAL CONVERSION OR SUBSTITUTION; COATING BY VACUUM EVAPORATION, BY SPUTTERING, BY ION IMPLANTATION OR BY CHEMI. Chemical coating by decomposition of gaseous compounds, without leaving reaction products of surface material in the coating, i.e. chemical vapour deposition .

Class G02B6: PHYSICS - OPTICS

OPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS . Light guides.

Class H01J37: ELECTRICITY - BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS

ELECTRIC DISCHARGE TUBES OR DISCHARGE LAMPS . Discharge tubes with provision for introducing objects or material to be exposed to the discharge, e.g. for the purpose of examination or processing thereof .