We present a micro-manufacturing process for fabricating silicon-based bridge wire micro-chip initiators with the capacity to liberate joules of chemical energy at the expense of micro joules of input electrical energy. The micro-chip initiators are assembled with an open material reservoir utilizing a novel 47 °C melting point solder alloy bonding procedure and integrated with a bismuth oxide–aluminum nanothermite energetic composite. The electro-thermal conversion efficiency of the initiators is enhanced by the use of a nanoporous silicon bed which impedes thermal coupling between the bridge wire and bulk silicon substrate while maintaining the structural integrity of the device. Electrical behaviors of the ignition elements are investigated to extract minimum input power and energy requirements of 382.4 mW and 26.51 µJ, respectively, both in the absence and presence of an injected bismuth oxide–aluminum nanothermite composition. Programmed combustion of bismuth oxide–aluminum nanothermite housed within these initiators is demonstrated with a success rate of 100% over a 30 to 80 µJ range of firing energies and ignition response times of less than 2 µs are achieved in the high input power operation regime. The micro-initiators reported here are intended for use in miniaturized actuation technologies.
C. S. Staley, Morris, C. J., Dr. T. Rajagopalan, Apperson, S. J., Gangopadhyay, K., and Gangopadhyay, S., “Silicon-based bridge wire micro-chip initiators for bismuth oxide–aluminum nanothermite”, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, vol. 21, p. 115015, 2011.