Micromechanical devices such as bearings require smooth surfaces. Fine-grained polysilicon can be produced with a surface roughness near 8 Å rms. The ability to anneal films of this type into tension eliminates size restrictions due to compressive buckling. The use of these films in micromechanical devices has been restricted because hydrogen fluoride-etched structures are covered by an etch residue that leads to contact welding. Contact between opposing surfaces is induced mainly by surface tension effects. This problem may be avoided by removing the deflection mechanism. Thus, freezing of a water-methanol rinse after sacrifical ethcing all but eliminates surface tension. Removal of the ice mixture via sublimation at 0.15 millibar occurs readily. Free-standing structures with smooth surfaces and small gaps are next passivated by silicon deposition or other techniques.
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