Meso-scale ceramic hotplates - A playground for high temperature microsystems
This paper presents a mesa-scale low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) hotplate system. Using embedded thick-film platinum heaters, the hotplate has been able to operate at about 600 degrees C in a reliable manner, while its operating temperature can be regulated using an automation setup. The capability of structuring in LTCC materials made it possible to create an efficient thermal decoupling to have two temperature zones in the device, an active heating area and a cold-zone (<100 degrees C), which becomes greatly beneficial to the integration of standard fluidic and electrical interconnections. A heat dissipation model has been developed for understanding thermal characteristics of the LTCC hotplate system, while the reliability tests have shown robust mechanical structure of the device as well as durable performance of the thick-film heaters after 70 thermal cycles up to 600 degrees C. Moreover, potential applications in the use of the LTCC hotplate have been demonstrated, including a high-temperature microreactor for a highly efficient hydrogen production and a miniaturized thermal transpiration gas pump. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.