We present a model for reducing adhesion in MEMS structures using laser heating and compare the model to experimental results. Using a fracture mechanics model, the interface between the stiction-failed microcantilever and the substrate is treated as a crack, and the energy release rate is calculated using elastic theory. In order to include the effect of laser irradiation of the microcantilevers, an associated thermal strain energy is included in the fracture model. As the beam peels, the free length reaches a critical value where the beam buckles, decreasing the energy of the system. The results of the model predict a temperature difference of 100 K is able to repair microcantilevers as long as 600 μm. Experiments are performed that demonstrate the peeling of stiction-failed beams from the substrate after laser irradiation as predicted by the thermomechanical model.

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