Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Yong Xu


This dissertation presents the design and fabrication techniques used to fabricate flexible MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) devices.

MEMS devices and CMOS(Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) circuits are traditionally fabricated on rigid substrates with inorganic semiconductor materials such as Silicon. However, it is highly desirable that functional elements like sensors, actuators or micro fluidic components to be fabricated on flexible substrates for a wide variety of applications. Due to the fact that flexible substrate is temperature sensitive, typically only low temperature materials, such as polymers, metals, and organic semiconductor materials, can be directly fabricated on flexible substrates. A novel technology based on XeF2(xenon difluoride) isotropic silicon etching and parylene conformal coating, which is able to monolithically incorporate high temperature materials and fluidic channels, was developed at Wayne State University.

The technology was first implemented in the development of out-of-plane parylene microneedle arrays that can be individually addressed by integrated flexible micro-channels. These devices enable the delivery of chemicals with controlled temporal and spatial patterns and allow us to study neurotransmitter-based retinal prosthesis.

The technology was further explored by adopting the conventional SOI-CMOS processes. High performance and high density CMOS circuits can be first fabricated on SOI wafers, and then be integrated into flexible substrates. Flexible p-channel MOSFETs (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect-Transistors) were successfully integrated and tested. Integration of pressure sensors and flow sensors based on single crystal silicon has also been demonstrated. A novel smart yarn technology that enables the invisible integration of sensors and electronics into fabrics has been developed.

The most significant advantage of this technology is its post-MEMS and post-CMOS compatibility. Various high-performance MEMS devices and electronics can be integrated into flexible substrates. The potential of our technology is enormous. Many wearable and implantable devices can be developed based on this technology.