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Dr. Thara Srinivasan
Lecture 2
MEMS Fabrication I :
Process Flows and Bulk
Micromachining
Picture credit: Alien Technology
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Lecture Outline
• Reading
• Reader is in! (at South side Copy Central)
• Kovacs, “Bulk Micromachining of Silicon,” pp. 1536-43.
• Williams, “Etch Rates for Micromachining Processing,” pp.
256-60.
• Senturia, Chapter 3, “Microfabrication.”
• Today’s Lecture
• Tools Needed for MEMS Fabrication
• Photolithography Review
• Crystal Structure of Silicon
• Bulk Silicon Etching Techniques
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IC Processing
Cross-section
Jaeger
Masks Cross-section Masks
N-type Metal Oxide Semiconductor
(NMOS) process flow
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CMOS Processing
• Processing steps
• Oxidation
• Photolithography
• Etching
• Chemical Vapor
Deposition
• Diffusion
• Ion Implantation
• Evaporation and
Sputtering
• Epitaxy
Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor
Jaeger
deposit
pattern etch
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MEMS Devices
Staple
Polysilicon level 2
Polysilicon level 1
Silicon substrate
Polysilicon level 1
Polysilicon level 2
Hinge staple
Plate
Silicon substrate
Support arm
Prof. Kris Pister
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MEMS Devices
Microoptomechanical
switches, Lucent
Analog Devices
Integrated
accelerometer Microturbine, Schmidt group MIT
Thermally isolated RMS
converter Reay et al.
Caliper
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MEMS Processing
• Unique to MEMS fabrication
• Sacrificial etching
• Mechanical properties critical
• Thicker films and deep etching
• Etching into substrate
• Double-sided lithography
• 3-D assembly
• Wafer-bonding
• Molding
• Integration with electronics, fluidics
• Unique to MEMS packaging and testing
• Delicate mechanical structures
• Packaging: before or after dicing?
• Sealing in gas environments
• Interconnect - electrical, mechanical, fluidic
• Testing – electrical, mechanical, fluidic
Package
Dice
Release
sacrificial layer
structural layer
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Photolithography:
Masks and Photoresist
dark-field light-field
• Photolithography steps
• Photoresist spinnning, 1-10 µm spin coating
• Optical exposure through a photomask
• Developing to dissolve exposed resist
• Bake to drive off solvents
• Remove using solvents (acetone) or O
2
plasma
• Photomasks
• Layout generated from CAD file
• Mask reticle: chrome or emulsion on fused silica
• 1-3 $k
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Photoresist Application
• Spin-casting photoresist
• Polymer resin, sensitizer, carrier
solvent
• Positive and negative photoresist
• Thickness depends on
• Concentration
• Viscosity
• Spin speed
• Spin time
www.brewerscience.com
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Photolithography Tools
• Contact or proximity
• Resolution: Contact - 1-2 µm,
Proximity - 5 µm
• Depth of focus poor
• Projection
• Reduce 5-10×, stepper mode
• Resolution - 0.5 (λ/NA) ~ ≤ 1 µm
• Depth of focus ~ Few µms
• Double-sided lithography
• Make alignment marks on both sides of wafer
• Use IR imaging to see through to back side
• Store image of front side marks; align to back
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Materials for MEMS
• Substrates
• Silicon
• Glass
• Quartz
• Thin Films
• Polysilicon
• Silicon Dioxide,
Silicon Nitride
• Metals
• Polymers
Wolf and Tauber
Silicon crystal structure
λ = 5.43 Å
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Silicon Crystallography
• Miller Indices (h k l)
• Planes
• Reciprocal of plane intercepts with axes
• Intercepts of normal to plane with plane
• (unique), {family}
• Directions
• Move one endpoint to origin
• [unique], <family>
x x x
y y y
z z z
(100) (110) (111)
{111}
[001]
[100]
[010]
(110)
<100>
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Silicon Crystallography
• Angles between planes, ∠
• ∠ between [abc] and [xyz] given by:
ax+by+cz = |(a,b,c)|*|(x,y,z)|*cos(Θ)
• {100} and {110} – 45°
• {100} and {111} – 54.74°
• {110} and {111} – 35.26, 90 and 144.74°
0 1/2 0
0 1/2 0
3/4 1/4
1/4 3/4
0 1/2 1/2
)) 3 )( 1 /( ) 0 0 1 ((
1
) 111 ( ), 100 (
+ + =

Cos θ
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Silicon Crystal Origami
• Silicon fold-up cube
• Adapted from Profs. Kris
Pister and Jack Judy
• Print onto transparency
• Assemble inside out
• Visualize crystal plane
orientations, intersections,
and directions
{111}
(111)
{111}
(111)
{111}
(111)
{111}
(111)
{111}
(111)
{111}
(111)
{111}
(111)
{111}
(111)
{100}
(100)
{
1
1
0
}
(1
1
0
)
{100}
(010)
{110}
(011)
{110}
(011)
{
1
1
0
}
(1
1
0
)
{
1
1
0
}
(1
1
0
)
{100}
(010)
{110}
(011)
{110}
(011)
{
1
1
0
}
(1
1
0
)
{110}
(101)
{100}
(001)
{100}
(100)
{110}
(101)
{110}
(101)
{100}
(001)
{110}
(101)
[010] [010]
[0
0
1
]
[0
0
1
]
[100] [100]
[1
0
1
] [1
0
1
]
[0
1
1
] [0
1
1
]
[ 1 1 0 ] [ 1 1 0 ]
Judy, UCLA
Judy
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Silicon Wafers
• Location of primary
and secondary flats
shows
• Crystal orientation
• Doping, n- or p-type
Maluf
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Mechanical Properties of Silicon
• Crystalline silicon is a hard and brittle material that
deforms elastically until it reaches its yield strength,
at which point it breaks.
• Tensile yield strength = 7 GPa (~1500 lb suspended from 1
mm²)
• Young’s Modulus near that of stainless steel
• {100} = 130 GPa; {110} = 169 GPa; {111} = 188 GPa
• Mechanical properties uniform, no intrinsic stress
• Mechanical integrity up to 500°C
• Good thermal conductor, low thermal expansion coefficient
• High piezoresistivity
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What is Bulk
Micromachining?
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Bulk Etching of Silicon
• Etching modes
• Isotropic vs. anisotropic
• Reaction-limited
• Etch rate dependent on temperature
• Diffusion-limited
• Etch rate dependent on mixing
• Also dependent on layout and
geometry, “loading”
• Choosing a method
• Desired shapes
• Etch depth and uniformity
• Surface roughness
• Process compatibility
• Safety, cost, availability,
environmental impact
adsorption desorption
surface
reaction
slowest step controls
rate of reaction
Maluf
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Wet Etch Variations, Crystalline Si
• Etch rate variation due to wet etch set-up
• Loss of reactive species through consumption
• Evaporation of liquids
• Poor mixing (etch product blocks diffusion of reactants)
• Contamination
• Applied potential
• Illumination
• Etch rate variation due to material being etched
• Impurities/dopants
• Etch rate variation due to layout
• Distribution of exposed area ~ loading
• Structure geometry
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Anisotropic Etching of Silicon
• Etching of Si with KOH
Si + 2OH
-
→Si(OH)
2
2+
+ 4e
-
4H
2
O + 4e
-
→4(OH)
-
+ 2H
2
<100>
Maluf
• Crystal orientation relative etch
rates
• {110}:{100}:{111} = 600:400:1
• {111} plane has three of its bonds
below the surface
• {111} may form protective oxide
quickly
• {111} smoother than other crystal
planes
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KOH Etch Conditions
• 1 KOH : 2 H
2
O (wt.), stirred bath @ 80°C
• Si (100) →1.4 µm/min
• Etch masks
• Si
3
N
4
→0
• SiO
2
→1-10 nm/min
• Photoresist, Al ~ fast
• “Micromasking” by H
2
bubbles leads to roughness
• Stirring displaces bubbles
• Oxidizer, surfactant additives
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Undercutting
• Convex
corners
bounded by
{111} planes
are attacked
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Ristic
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Undercutting
• Convex
corners
bounded by
{111} planes
are attacked
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Corner Compensation
• Protect corners with “compensation”
areas in layout
• Mesa array for self-assembly test
structures, Smith and coworkers (1995)
Alien Technology
Hadley
Chang
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Corner Compensation
• Self-assembly microparts, Alien Technology
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Other Anisotropic Etchants
• TMAH, Tetramethyl ammonium hydroxide, 10-40 wt.% (90°C)
• Etch rate (100) = 0.5-1.5 µm/min
• Al safe, IC compatible
• Etch ratio (100)/(111) = 10-35
• Etch masks: SiO
2
, Si
3
N
4
~ 0.05-0.25 nm/min
• Boron doped etch stop, up to 40× slower
• EDP (115°C)
• Carcinogenic, corrosive
• Etch rate (100) = 0.75 µm/min
• Al may be etched
• R(100) > R(110) > R(111)
• Etch ratio (100)/(111) = 35
• Etch masks: SiO
2
~ 0.2 nm/min, Si
3
N
4
~ 0.1 nm/min
• Boron doped etch stop, 50× slower
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Boron-Doped Etch Stop
• Control etch depth precisely with
boron doping (p++)
• [B] > 10
20
cm
-3
reduces KOH etch
rate by 20-100×
• Gaseous or solid boron diffusion
• At high dopant level, injected
electrons recombine with holes in
valence band and are unavailable for
reactions to give OH
-
• Results
• Beams, suspended films
• 1-20 µm layers possible
• p++ not compatible with CMOS
• Buried p++ compatible
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Micronozzle
Maluf
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Microneedles
Ken Wise group,
University of Michigan
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Microneedles
Wise group,
University of Michigan
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Microneedles
Wise group,
University of Michigan
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Electrochemical Etch Stop
• Electrochemical etch stop
• n-type epitaxial layer grown on p-type wafer forms p-n diode
• p > n → electrical conduction
• p < n → reverse bias current
• Passivation potential – potential at which thin SiO
2
layer
forms, different for p- and n-Si
• Set-up
• p-n diode in reverse bias
• p-substrate floating →etched
• n-layer above passivation
potential →not etched
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• Electrochemical etching on preprocessed CMOS wafers
• N-type Si well with circuits suspended from SiO
2
support beam
• Thermally and electrically isolated
• TMAH etchant, Al bond pads safe
Electrochemical Etch Stop
Reay et al. (1994)
Kovacs group, Stanford U.
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Pressure Sensors
• Bulk micromachined pressure
sensors
• Piezoresistivity – change in
electrical resistance due to
mechanical stress
• In response to pressure load on
thin Si film, piezoresistive
elements change resistance
• Membrane deflection < 1 µm
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n-type
epilayer,
p-type
substrate
(111)
R
1
R
3
Bondpad
(100) Si
diaphragm
P-type diffused
piezoresistor
n-type
epitaxial
layer
Metal
conductors
Anodically
bonded
Pyrex
substrate
Etched
cavity
Backside
port
(111)
R
2
R
1
R
3
Deposit
insulator
Diffuse
piezoresistors
Deposit &
pattern metal
Electrochemical
etch of backside
cavity
Anodic
bonding
of glass
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• Only 150 × 400 × 900 µm
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Pressure Sensors
Catheter-tip
pressure sensor,
Lucas NovaSensor
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Isotropic Etching of Silicon
• HNA: hydrofluoric acid (HF),
nitric acid (HNO
3
) and acetic
(CH
3
COOH) or water
• HNO
3
oxidizes Si to SiO
2
• HF converts SiO
2
to soluble
H
2
SiF
6
• Acetic prevents dissociation of
HNO
3
• Etch masks
• SiO
2
etched at 30-80 nm/min
• Nonetching Au or Si
3
N
4
Robbins
pure HNO
3
diffusion-limited
pure HF
reaction-limited
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• 5% (49%) HF : 80% (69%) HNO
3
: 15% H
2
O (by volume)
• Half-circular channels for chromatography
• Etch rate 0.8-1 µm/min
• Surface roughness 3 nm
Isotropic Etching Examples
• Pro and Con
• Easy to mold from rounded channels
• Etch rate and profile are highly agitation sensitive
Tjerkstra, 1997
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Dry Etching of Silicon
e
-
+ CF
4
→CF
3
+
+ F + 2e
-
• Dry etching
• Plasma phase
• Vapor phase
• Parameters
• Gas and species generated ~
ions, radicals, photons
• RF frequency, 13.56 MHz
• RF power, 10’s to – 1000’s W
• Pressure, mTorr – >100 Torr
sheath
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Plasma Etching of Silicon
• Crystalline silicon
• Etch gases ~ fluorine, chlorine-
based
• Reactive species ~ F, Cl, Cl
2
• Products ~ SiF
4
, SiCl
4
• Plasma phase etching processes
• Sputtering
• Physical, nonselective, faceted
• Plasma etching
• Chemical, selective, isotropic
• Reactive ion etching (RIE)
• Physical and chemical, fairly selective,
directional
• Inductively-coupled RIE
• Physical and chemical, fairly selective,
directional
(physical)
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• Deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) with
inhibitor film
• Inductively-coupled plasma
• Bosch method for anisotropic etching,
1.5 - 4 µm/min
• Etch cycle (5-15 s)
SF
6
(SF
x
+
) etches Si
• Deposition cycle (5-15 s)
C
4
F
8
deposits fluorocarbon protective
polymer (-CF
2
-)
n
• Etch mask selectivity: SiO
2
~ 200:1,
photoresist ~ 100:1
• Sidewall roughness: scalloping < 50 nm
• Sidewall angle: 90 ± 2°
High-Aspect-Ratio Plasma Etching
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• Etch rate is diffusion-limited and drops
for narrow trenches
• Adjust mask layout to eliminate large
disparities
• Adjust process parameters (etch rate
slows to < 1 µm/min)
• Etch depth precision
• Etch stop ~ buried layer of SiO
2
• Lateral undercut at Si/SiO
2
interface ~
“footing”
DRIE Issues
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DRIE Examples
Comb-drive Actuator
Keller, MEMS Precision
Instruments
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Electrospray Nozzle
Advanced BioAnalytical Services
G. A. Schultz et al., 2000.
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Vapor Phase Etching of Silicon
• Vapor-phase etchant XeF
2
2XeF
2(v)
+ Si
(s)
→2Xe
(v)
+ SiF
4(v)
• Set-up
• Xe sublimes at room T
• Closed chamber, 1-4 Torr
• Pulsed to control exothermic heat of
reaction
• Etch rates: 1-3 µm/min (up to 40),
isotropic
• Etch masks: photoresist, SiO
2
, Si
3
N
4
, Al,
metals
• Issues
• Etched surfaces have granular structure,
10 µm roughness
• Hazard: XeF
2
reacts with H
2
O in air to
form Xe and HF
Xactix
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Etching with Xenon Difluoride
• Post processed CMOS inductor
Pister group
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Laser-Driven Etching
• Laser-Assisted Chemical Etching
• Laser creates Cl radicals from Cl
2
; Si
converts to SiCl
4
.
• Etch rate: 100,000 µm
3
/s; 3 min to
etch 500×500×125 µm
3
trench
• Surface roughness: 30 nm RMS
• Serial process: patterned directly
from CAD file
Revise, Inc.
Laser-assisted etching
of a 500×500 µm
2
terraced silicon well.
Each step is 6 µm
deep.