Electric field breakdown at micrometre separations in air and vacuum

Microsystem Technologies (Impact Factor: 0.83). 01/1999; 6(1):6-10. DOI: 10.1007/s005420050166

ABSTRACT At large separations, the behaviour of electrodes has been widely studied and is reasonably well understood. However, some
fundamental problems have not been properly addressed such as maximum safe operating voltages and critical dimensions required
at small separations between different types of materials. A systematic study of electrical breakdown at sub-millimetre separations
using materials commonly used in the fabrication of microdevices has been undertaken. Specimens for examination at electrode
separations from 500 nm to 25 μm have been made with different electrode configurations, such as flat to flat, flat to point
and point to point. All the tests were made in air and at differing pressures.

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