In this paper, we present a method to realize a three dimensional (3D) homogeneous and isotropic negative index materials (3D-NIMs) fabricated using a low cost and massively parallel manufacturable microfabrication and microassembly technique. The construction of self-assembled 3D-NIM array was realized through two dimensional (2-D) planar microfabrication techniques exploiting the as-deposited residual stress imbalance between a bi-layer consisting of e-beam evaporated metal (650nm of chromium) and a structural layer of 500nm of low stress silicon nitride deposited by LPCVD on a silicon substrate.
A periodic continuation of a single rectangular unit cell consisting of split-ring resonators (SRR) and wires were fabricated to generate a 3D assembly by orienting them along all three Cartesian axes. The thin chromium and silicon nitride bi-layer is formed as hinges. The strain mismatch between the two layers curls the structural layer (flap) containing the SRR upwards. The self-assembled out-of-plane angular position depends on the thickness and material composing the bi-layer. This built-in stress-actuated assembly method is suitable for applications requiring a thin dielectric layer for the SRR. The split-ring resonators and other structures are created on the membrane which is then assembled into the 3-D configuration.