Predictions of strength in MEMS components with defects - A novel experimental-theoretical approach

N. Pugno, B. Peng, H. D. Espinosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This paper presents a novel experimental-theoretical method to investigate the strength of structures having complex geometries, which are commonly used in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). It involves the stretching to failure of freestanding thin-film membranes, in a fixed-fixed configuration, containing micro-fabricated sharp cracks, blunt notches and re-entrant corners. The defects, made by nanoindentation and focused ion beam milling, are characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). MEMS structures made of ultra-nano-crystalline-diamond (UNCD), a material developed at Argonne National Laboratory, were investigated using this methodology. A theory to predict the strength of microstructures with defects is proposed and compared with experimental results. It is shown that fracture mechanics general concepts can be applied with confidence in the design of MEMS. An experimental methodology and formulas to predict strength of MEMS structures possessing defects of various geometries are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-661
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Brittle materials
  • Fracture
  • MEMS
  • Strength
  • Thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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