New method for manufacturing microstructures

February 24, 2020

© Fraunhofer ISIT
Silicon test structures manufactured using powder technology, each with three round micromagnets in each corner. The magnets have a diameter of 300 µm.

Fraunhofer ISIT has developed a method for the manufacture of porous three-dimensional microstructures from bonded powder materials. With this method, shrink-free and mechanically stable structures of various geometries and sizes from a few micrometers to one millimeter can be produced. The base materials are powders comprising particles only a few micrometers in size. The material of the particles can be chosen at will. An atomic layer deposition process on wafer level at temperatures between 100 °C and 300 °C solidifies the particles to form three-dimensional, porous structures. Modification of the particles’ inner surface means that magnetic, optical, and sensory parameters can be individually adapted. This enables, for example, the manufacture of miniaturized permanent magnets made of NdFeB for batteryless sensors in Industry 4.0 applications, as well as sensors for monitoring power grids and adaptive lighting systems for car headlights or head-up displays.

The long-term goal is cost-effective automated production of special components for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which are used in safety and security, medical, and automotive technology, in the biosciences, or in consumer and communication electronics.

The state of Schleswig-Holstein is funding the research project to the tune of around €1.3 million.