SOI is an abbreviation for Silicon-On-Insulator. There is silicon on top of an oxide layer which is the insulator layer. Below the insulator layer is the substrate layer.

                                        Typical cross section of SOI MUMPS structure

The dimension of each layer has been defined together with its tolerances.  The most crucial reason why the SOI MUMPS technology was chosen instead of the other MUMPS technologies is because this technology provides highly planarized surfaces. This is essential for the creation of mirrors because mirrors need to be flat. The mirrors are then formed by depositing metal on the flat surface.  Several ensuing advantages come from the choice of using SOI MUMPS, namely increased reliability in fabrication as well as lower cost. These advantages can be attributed to the fact that because less number of layers are needed, less fabrication steps are needed. SOI MUMPS has only one structural layer whereas other technologies like PolyMUMPS has three structural polysilicon layers. 

The disadvantage of using this technology is that there is only one structural layer, namely the silicon layer. This excludes the use of conventional hinges and joints, making the design more difficult and more restricted.

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Last updated: 08/19/03.