Ultra-precision-milling of silicon by means of single crystal diamond tools
Silicon is an important material often employed on most of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS), integrated circuits, micro-chips, and micro-fluidic devices. Therefore, strategies and process parameters to machine those planar 2.5-D geometries of silicon are essential. Moreover, silicon belongs to the group of hard-brittle materials, which means that it is very likely to originate cracks during the milling operations as a result of the intermittent interaction of the cutting edge and the silicon surface. Besides, the machining of silicon results on severe tool wear. The ductile-brittle transition and tool wear reduction of the silicon-milling are aspects still not completely investigated. Consequently, this paper aims at finding the proper parameter range for ductile ultra-precision milling (UP-milling) of 2.5-D silicon geometries employing single crystal diamond cutting tools. Furthermore,the evaluation the tool wear after the process is a crucial part of the investigations. In order to fulfil such knowledge gap, single groove experiments are proposed. The milling process to generate those grooves is monitored by means of force measurements. Also, surface aspects of the machined grooves are measured through white light interferometry (WLI). For evaluating tool wear, dry UP-milling investigations are conducted and images of the cutting edges are taken by means of a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The experiments show that the machining of silicon is feasible and the ductile material removal is possible. Moreover, the process forces Fpr generated by the UP-milling process of single crystal silicon are able to be employed for monitoring and avoid the transition from ductile to brittle material removal.