5, MARCH 1, 2010


A Two-Wafer Approach for Integration of Optical MEMS and Photonics on Silicon Substrate
Qingxin Zhang, Jing Zhang, Mingbin Yu, Chee Wei Tan, Guo-Qiang Lo, and Dim-Lee Kwong
Abstract—This letter reports a novel two-wafer approach which demonstrates an integration of optical microelectromechanical system (MEMS) devices and photonics on a silicon substrate. The great advantage of this novel wafer bonding scheme is the ability to maintain the optical axis of the optical MEMS device at the same axis as the optical components. The bonded two wafers which are partially processed, which allows for further processing on the wafer after bonding. Thus, the critical alignment issue is resolved for devices requiring precise alignment in x-/y-/z-axis. Individual functionalities of optical MEMS device and optical coupling between silicon waveguide, fibers and ball lens are demonstrated. This technology shows the potential for integrating silicon photonics integrated circuit and MEMS components with reconfiguration functions on a single silicon substrate. Index Terms—Integration, optical microelectromechanical system (MEMS), Si-photonics.

Fig. 1. Schematic cross-sectional view of stacked optical MEMS device and photonics on silicon substrate.

I. INTRODUCTION N THE past decade, microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology has attracted much attention from the research community for potential application in optical communication systems [1], [2]. A variety of optical components, such as mirrors, switches, filters, lenses, and other fundamental elements have been successfully developed using MEMS technology. Also various subsystems with reconfiguration functions such as tunable lasers, high-speed optical modulators, reconfigurable wavelength add–drop multiplexers, and optical cross-connect have been demonstrated using optical MEMS. MEMS technology builds up individual optical components on a single silicon substrate which enables not only advanced optical performance, but also the system-level integration that allows electrical devices, mechanical structures, and photonics components integrated in a silicon substrate. Typically, two approaches are used to integrate optical MEMS components, electrical and photonics devices [3], [4]. The single-wafer scheme refers to a postintegrated circuit (IC) process where MEMS devices are fabricated on the same wafer that consists of photonics and/or electrical devices. The dual-wafer scheme involves two prefabricated wafers, i.e., MEMS and photonics IC (PIC) device wafers that are bonded


together for consequence processes. The active devices in complimentary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) IC or PIC are m , often fabricated within a thin silicon surface layer but the MEMS devices (e.g., mirror) are often fabricated with m . It is difficult to arrange a rather thick structure these two devices to be co-axis as desired in most integrated photonics if the single-wafer approach is employed. While in the dual-wafer approach, the precise alignment between the two wafers is the major challenge. For instance, the x-/y-axis alignment between devices on two wafers is limited by the coarse wafer-to-wafer bonding process while bonding of two separate devices induces difficulties in z-axis alignment control. This letter reports a novel platform technology for integration of the optical MEMS and photonics devices. The optical axes of photonics and optical MEMS are made to be coaxial by bonding two partially processed wafers together, and then further processing the wafer. High-precision alignments of the two devices in all three axes have been achieved. The potential application of this technology is the hybrid integration of silicon PIC and optical MEMS components with reconfiguration functions on silicon substrate. II. INTEGRATION PROCESS Fig. 1 depicts a schematic of the two-wafer bonding approach where the optical MEMS device and photonics are aligned to each other. There are two major components in this design. The first wafer has the MEMS structure which consists of a driving comb, folded beam, mass structure, and a vertical mirror. The second wafer has the optical coupling module which consists of fiber trench, ball lens cavity, and silicon waveguide. The silicon mirror serves as a switch to control the light in the coupling module by moving in/out of the optical path. This application requires the silicon waveguide and the MEMS mirror on the same optical axis. Fig. 2 shows the major steps in the integration process. It involves two wafers, a bulk silicon wafer (top wafer) and a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer with 320-nm silicon on 1- m oxide (bottom wafer). The silicon waveguide is patterned to

Manuscript received June 01, 2009; revised November 23, 2009; accepted November 24, 2009. First published January 12, 2010; current version published February 03, 2010. The authors are with the Institute of Microelectronics, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A-STAR), Singapore 117685, Singapore (e-mail:;;;; logq@ime.a-star.; Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/LPT.2009.2038236

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lens. The waveguide tip. The optical fiber. Fig. By the deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) method. ball-lens cavity. 4. 3 shows the top view of the structures fabricated on the bottom wafer. VOL. MARCH 1. fiber holding trench is 62. 2010 Fig. create an optical mode converter structure on the bottom SOI wafer using an ultraviolet (UV) 248 scanner. additional 5. The shallower rectangle trench is used to hold optical fiber while the deeper circular trench is used to hold an optical lens.5 m deep for fiber with a diameter of 125 m while the lens holding trench is 150 m in depth for a ball lens of 300 m in diameter. The silicon recess on the bottom wafer is 100 m deep etched by the DRIE process. accuracy of Fig. In order to achieve high coupling efficiency. The Fig. 2 m away from the optical coupling interface. After 2. the right-top inset is an enlarged scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of the Si waveguide tip. as shown in the enlarged image. a misalignment of less than 0. and silicon recesses on the bottom wafer. NO. 4 shows the bonding structure which consists of a top wafer with islands and a bottom wafer with recesses after thinning of top silicon. Fabricated Si waveguide and deep trench structures on the bottom wafer. silicon island structures are formed on the top wafer using wet silicon etch or the DRIE process. 3. the metal pad layer Cr–Au is sputtered and etched by wet process. Several recesses with various shapes and depths are formed on the bottom wafer using the DRIE process. trenches with different depths are fabricated and two additional masks are used to achieve precise trench depth. 22. and silicon waveguide are aligned accurately in both Z. As for the alignment in the z-axis. The silicon layer over the fiber trenches and lens cavities on the bottom wafer are etched during the DRIE process. is patterned from the device layer of the SOI wafer.m tolerance are employed to selectively masks with open the predefined recesses and control their depths with an 0.270 IEEE PHOTONICS TECHNOLOGY LETTERS. The silicon island .m plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) oxide coverage on the silicon waveguide. Cross-sectional view of top wafer with islands bonded with bottom wafer with recesses.1 m in the Y-direction is achieved by combining all the recess patterns on one mask. a second mask is used to create the fiber trench. The two wafers are then bonded using benzocyclobutene (BCB) as an intermediate layer at a temperature of 250 C to avoid damages on the electronic and photonics devices [5]. and aligns this mask to the silicon waveguide pattern on the wafer surface. III. It is processed in an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) system for good control of critical dimension and vertical/smooth sidewall. In parallel.5 m. In the final step. optical MEMS structures are defined and etched by DRIE on the top silicon layer. The silicon waveguide. 5. 2. has a vertical sidewall and smooth surface. After mechanical thinning of 50 nm 500 nm the top wafer. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Fig. Integration process of optical MEMS devices and photonics on silicon substrate.(normal to wafer surface) and Y-directions. 400 nm in width with a 150-nm tip.

L. [4] L. and silicon recesses on a bonded silicon substrate are shown in Fig. Solgaard. vol. As the MEMS components. Then. Further works will be focused on the optimization of the MEMS design. Stemme. silicon waveguide. Weible. pp. “Selective wafer-level adhesive bonding with benzocyclobutene for fabrication of cavities. The movement of the mirror along its longitudinal direction will adjust the optical coupling between the fiber and the silicon waveguide. Germany. 11th Int. 4433–4454.. E.ZHANG et al. 95.” Sens. [3] H. Topics Quantum Electron. The vertical mirror. 1332–1335. and net structures are constructed on the thick silicon ( 60 m) over the recess while its anchors are mainly formed on the thin silicon ( 20 m) layer on the bottom wafer. while the multimode fiber (MMF) is connected to a detector. such as combs. After assembly of the ball lens and fibers. Ford. and the demonstration of MEMS reconfiguration function in the silicon photonics system. 212–221. [5] J. 163–172. [2] M. 2–3. 10–14. Dec. Jan. Hoffmann. In this experiment. 2001. (a) SEM images of integrated optical MEMS mirror and optical bench on Si substrate. as shown in Fig. Marxer. “Vertical comb-finger capacitive actuation and sensing for CMOS-MEMS. 2002. C. 50. The thick MEMS structures. Y. the MEMS and photonics devices are realized on the same optical plane without trade-off in po1 m) and vertical sitional accuracies at both the lateral ( ( 0. Coupling loss from the waveguide to the MMF is ignored. “Opportunities and challenges for MEMS in lightwave communications. tical plane. 5. This can be solved through optimization of mask design and fine-tuning of the process parameters. pp. is thinner than the island. M. O. pp. SUMMARY A two-wafer approach has been developed for integration of MEMS and photonics devices on a silicon substrate.. Dellmann. pp. springs. the single-mode fiber (SMF) is connected to a laser source at a wavelength of 1550 nm. Lin and E. a 1-mm-long waveguide introduces about 0. Solid-State Sensors and Actuators. 5. no. W. Fedder. Lightw. the misalignment can be controlled within 1 m with equivalent optical coupling loss of less than 3 dB. pp. “Optical MEMS for lightwave communication. Conf.m thickness. A. 2006. process. This height difference is desired to make the silicon waveguide (bottom wafer) and the central part of the MEMS structure to be coaxial considering the thickness of the intermediate bonding layer. Noell. 2002. 24. The silicon mirror goes into the silicon trench/recess. “4 4 matrix switches based on MEMS switches and integrated waveguides. Actuators. Goldstein. 2003. K. vol. (b) the enlarged images showing the thick spring structure constructed on Si island and the thin Si as anchor. making the waveguide on the bottom wafer and the central part of the mirror on the same op- 2 .” IEEE J. The propagation loss of the waveguide is determined to be about 3 4 dB/cm. 12. REFERENCES [1] L. 1. and (c) the thick folded beam over Si recess. IV.4-dB propagation loss. The recesses for holding optical fibers and ball lenses are exposed during the DRIE process.5 m) directions in the postbonding process. Sel. no. K. no. is etched in potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution. defined on the thin silicon layer. and G. Jun. is perpendicular to the optical path from optical fiber through the ball lens into the silicon waveguide. The displacement deviates from the designed value of 25 m. 105. 60 m in height. The two wafers are aligned in an electronic visions group (EVG) aligner and bonded in an EVG bonder with alignment accuracy 5 m in both X-/Y-directions.: TWO-WAFER APPROACH FOR INTEGRATION OF OPTICAL MEMS AND PHOTONICS 271 Fig. and J. The mirror is displaced for 5 m in plane at a driving voltage up to 30 V. located in between the fiber trench and the ball lens cavity. C. The integrated MEMS structure. This misalignment can of induce optical coupling loss of larger than 10 dB in a fiber-ball lens-Si waveguide coupling system.” Sens. The MEMS mirror as an optical switch is characterized. The total insertion loss between the source fiber and the silicon waveguide is as small as 2. 297–304. Niklaus. vol./Feb. 5. It was observed that the gap between the silicon comb fingers is extended probably due to the notching effect in the DRIE process. The thin silicon layer on the top wafer. on the top wafer. Actuators A. de Rooij. are aligned with structures on the bottom wafer. F. Wu. vol. Xie and G. The flexible and low-temperature BCB bonding process is employed to bond the two preprocessed wafers which consist of silicon islands and recesses.” J.4 dB. 8. mirrors.” in Transducers’01 Eurosensors XV. Technol. The optical coupling between silicon waveguide and the optical fiber is measured to investigate the alignment accuracy between the optical components and to verify the effect of the DRIE process. and N. F. Oberhammer.

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