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What is microfabrication?

process for the production of devices in the submicron to millimeter range

Two types of microfabrication
1. micromachining
2. soft fabrication
Materials commonly used for micromachining and what micromachining is similar to?
silicon and other ceramics; similar to integrated circuit fabrication
Soft fabrication techniques
-thick-film application
-array patterning using polymers and biological substances
MEMS devices are made from the same materials used for _____
What materials are MEMS devices made from?
-single crystal silicon wafers
-deposited layers of polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon) for resistive elements
-gold, aluminum, copper, and titanium for conductors
-silicon oxide for insulation and as a sacrificial layer (to allow release of moving parts
-silicon nitride and titanium nitride for electrical insulation and passivation
What are advantages of using silicon materials?
they have high strength at small scales, which allows higher strain levels and less susceptibility
to damage and fractur
What are the 4 soft fabrication materials?
-electroactive polymers
-biological materials
Soft fabrication materials: polymers
surface modification for improved functionality
Soft fabrication materials: hydrogels
environmentally induced changes in shape, size, and other attributes
Soft fabrication materials: electroactive polymers
electrically induced changes in shape, size, and other attributes
Soft fabrication materials: biological materials
DNA fragments, biotin labeled albumin, and streptavidin coated polystyrene beads
MEMS devices are largely made of what?
MEMS devices use what fabrication techniques?
the ones used in integrated circuit manufacturing
What is used as device substrates and how in microfabrication?
Silicon wafers of varied diameters and crystal orientation are cut from long silicon boules and
serve as device substrates
What techniques are silicon wafers subjected to?
subjected to the application of a variety of thin films by thermal, chemical, and vapor
deposition, epitaxial, or sputtering techniques, which inlude thermal silicon oxide, dielectric
materials such as silicon dioxide and silicon nitride, polycrystalline silicon, and conductive metal
What is photolithography used for, when, and for what?
for pattern transfer, using masks and resists; it interweaves other process steps of deposition
and etching (micromachining) to achieve 3D structures
Which element is the most used semiconductor in electronics and bioMEMS?
Electronic grade silicon (EGS)
Steps to fabricate EGS (3)
1. quartzite is placed in a furnace with carbon-releasing materials, reacts with carbon and forms
metalluric-grade silicon (MGS)
2. MGS is then treated with hydrogen chloride to form trichlorosilane
3. fractional distillation reduction with hydrogen produces EGS

all of these processes need heat

Czhochralski process
-method of crystal growth used to obtain single crystals of semiconductors, metals, salts, and
synthetic gemstones
-can manufacture the silicon boule, which is an elongated growth of a single silicon crystal
-a silicon crystal is gradually pulled upward by a rod connected to a rotating seed crystal that
rests initially upon the surface of stirred molten silicon in a graphite crucible; entire unit is
housed in a silica enclosure with a controlled inert atmosphere; rotating seed-bearing rod is
pulled back a few millimeters a minute, allowing the crystal boule to grow; the boule is then cut
into wafers of defined diameters and thicknesses
Crystalline silicon structure
forms a covalently bonded structure and coordinates itself tetrahedrally
Silicon and germanium
crystallize as two interpenetrating FCC sublattices
Silicon is an element that exists in three forms:
crystalline, polycrystalline (polysilicon), and amorphous (glass)
Miller indices
serve to identify and label orientations in the silicon wafers cut from the original boule
Steps in photolithography; surface micromachining steps
1. a patterned litographic mask is made and used to expose a photoresist and silicon dioxide
(sacrificial layer) coated substrate such as silicon or glass
2. light polymerizes the photoresist protecting those exposed from being etched away
3. a structural material like polycrystalline silicon is deposited
4. more lithography patterns the structural material
5. the structural meterial is then etched
6. the sacrificial layer is etched away, leaving the surface detail
Mask creation
mask serves as a stencil to generate a pattern on a resist-coated surface; both glass and quartz
plates can be used since they are transparent to UV light and may be placed in direct contact or
proximity contact above the surface
wafer cleaning
occurs in a clean room; may include RCA cleaning protocols
In what ways can thermal oxidation be accomplished?
dry oxidation, wet oxidation, and pyrogenic oxidation
SiO2 characteristics
-silicon atom surrounded tetrahedrally by four oxygen atoms
-structure may be crystalline (quartz) or amorphouse (thermal deposition
Characteristics of dry oxidation
-produces a better oxide with higher density than steam oxidation
-use sio2 produced as an insulating layer that will permanently stay
-occurs at 900-1500 degrees Celsius
What can the SiO2 layer be used as?
as an insulating layer, a mask, diffusion barrier, and as sacrificial material
Characteristics of wet/steam oxidation
-faster than dry oxidation
-lower density
-used sio2 that will serve as sacrificial layer that will be etched away
Thermal silicon oxide is....
What is a resist?
once the thermo silicon oxide layer is created, the wafer is ready for resist application; a resist
is a solution of photosensitive polymer, or photoresist
Spin-casting process
photoresist is dispensed onto the wafer and spun at high speed, creating a uniform layer; this
process leads to smooth films
Positive resist
exposed areas to UV is washed away; positive protects
Negative resist
unexposed areas to UV are washed away
Types of positive resist
-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)
-two-part system, diazoquinone ester plus phenolic novolak resin (DQN)
Types of negative resist
-bis(aryl)azide rubber
-Kodak KTFR
Critical dimension
the smallest feature size to be produced; smallest scale comfortability for applying this
smallest line width to be consistently patterned; pixels, the smallest the better resolution
Alignment process
crucial for forming multilayer structures for fabrication of miniaturized devices; based on
fiducial marks on the mask (crosshairs or optical vernier)
UV Exposure occurs at...
350-500 nm
After exposure...
wafer is developed and the underlying oxide is etched away; resists themselves are either
stripped away at some point or may become part of the device
etching methods: subtractive processes: dry etching (plasma)
glow discharge methods (diode setups)
--plasma etching (PE)
--reactive ion etching (RIE)
--physical sputtering (PS)

ion beam methods (triode setups)

--ion beam milling (IBM)
--reactive ion beam etching (RIBE)
--chemical assisted ion beam etching (CAIBE)

deep reactive ion etching (DRIE)

etching methods: subtractive processes: wet etching (chemical liquids)
etching profile: isotropic etching
poor directionality
etching profile: anisotropic etching
good directionality; produces more vertical walls
plasma etching (PE) comparison
-occurs at relatively lower energy and higher pressure (less vacuum)
-is isotropic
-less prone to cause damage
reactive ion etching (RIE) comparison
-more middle ground in terms of energy and pressure
-better directionality
physical sputtering (PS) and ion beam milling (IBM) comparison
-rely on physical momentum transfer from higher excitation energies and very low pressures
-result in poor selectivity
-anisotropic etching
-increased radiation damage
plasma etching (PE)
-plasma bombards a surface
-impinging ions erode or sputter-etch the surface by momentum transfer
plasma etching (PE) procedure
1. generation of etchant species
2. diffusion to surface
3. adsorption
4. reaction
5. desorption
6. diffusion into bulk gas
reactive ion etching (RIE)
can be accomplished with radio frequency (RF) generated plasma; ion etching sputter occurs;
substrate is held on the anode for deposition; high energy ions from the plasma attack wafer
surface and react with it
After etching...
resist is stripped and wafer inspected in a profilometer
physical sputtering (PS)
bombarding a surface with inert ions (argon)
physical sputtering (<3eV)
particles are simply reflected or absorbed
physical sputtering (4-10eV)
some surface sputtering occurs
physical sputtering (10-50,000eV)
momentum transfer causes bond breakage and ballistic material ejection across the reactor to
the collecting surface; a low pressure and long mean free path are necessary to prevent the
material from redepositing
implantation (doping) occurs at...
10,000 - 20,000 ev
sputter yield
the number of atoms removed from the surface per incident ion
sputter yield depends on:
-incident ion energy (max yield 5-50keV)
-mass of ion
-mass of substrate atom to be etched away
-crystallinity and crystal orientation of the substrate
-temperature of the substrate
-partial pressure of oxygen in the residual gas
ion beam milling (IBM)
a hot filament serves as an electron source in an inert gas environment such as argon; ions are
extracted from the upper chamber by the grid, formed into a beam, accelerated, and fired into
the lower chamber, where they hit the target
reactive ion-beam etching (RIBE) and chemical assisted ion-beam etching (CAIBE)
unlike IBM, ion-surface interactions promote etching in RIBE and CAIBE
reactive ion-beam etching (RIBE)
reactive ions etch the surface directly; reactive ions come from ion source itself
chemically assisted ion-beam etching (CAIBE)
inert ion bombardment induces a reaction by making the surface more reactive for neutral
plasma species; a reactive gas such as Cl2 is flowed over the substrate; achieves highly
anisotropic etch profiles with smooth vertical sidewalls
measuring of surface features, including depth and width of etched structures
process by which dye are separated from wafer of semiconductor following the processing of
the wafer; can make silicon chips to use in computers
wire bonding
method of making interconnections between an integrated circuit or other semiconductor
device and its packaging during semiconductor device fabrication
surface micromachining concepts discussed:
-mask creation
-silicon wafer preparation
-thin-films deposition such as SiO2
-resist (positive, negative) application
-UV exposure and development
-etching methods (substractive processes)
-resist stripping
-inspection with profilometer
-dicing and wire bonding