Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Date



Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)

Source Publication

Proceedings of SPIE 8973, Micromachining and Microfabrication Process Technology XIX,


Historically, spectroscopy has been a cumbersome endeavor due to the relatively large sizes (3ft – 100ft in length) of modern spectroscopy systems. Taking advantage of the photoacoustic effect would allow for much smaller absorption chambers since the photoacoustic (PA) effect is independent of the absorption path length. In order to detect the photoacoustic waves being generated, a photoacoustic microphone would be required. This paper reports on the fabrication efforts taken in order to create microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) cantilevers for the purpose of sensing photoacoustic waves generated via terahertz (THz) radiation passing through a gaseous sample. The cantilevers are first modeled through the use of the finite element modeling software, CoventorWare®. The cantilevers fabricated with bulk micromachining processes and are 7x2x0.010mm on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer which acts as the physical structure of the cantilever. The devices are released by etching through the wafer’s backside and etching through the buried oxide with hydrofluoric acid. The cantilevers are placed in a test chamber and their vibration and deflection are measured via a Michelson type interferometer that reflects a laser off a gold tip evaporated onto the tip of the cantilever. The test chamber is machined from stainless steel and housed in a THz testing environment at Wright State University. Fabricated devices have decreased residual stress and larger radii of curvatures by approximately 10X.


Published version. Published as part of the Proceedings of SPIE 8973, Micromachining and Microfabrication Process Technology XIX, (7 March 2014): 897302. DOI. © (2014) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Used with permission.

Ronald A. Coutu was affiliated with the Air Force Institute of Technology at the time of publication.

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