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EE6007 MEMS UNIT 1 PART B QUESTION BANK Page |1

UNIT 1 – INTRODUCTION

1. Discuss in detail the following MEMS fabrication processes(NOV 16)


a. Etching

 Etching is one of the most important processes in micro-fabrication.


 In micro-fabrication, etching is used to shape the geometry (by removing
materials) of micro-components in MEMS
 If the etch rates in all direction are identical, the etching is said to be
isotropic. If the etch rates is orientation dependent, the etching is said to
be anisotropic.
 Based upon the medium of etchant it is classified into
o Wet silicon etching process use liquid chemical solution in contact
with silicon.
o Dry etching processes use plasma (high –energy gas containing
ionized radicals) to remove materials.

Parameters Dry etching Wet etching


Good for most materials Only with single crystal
Directionality
materials
Materials to be etched Only certain materials All
Good in case of slow Difficult
Control of etch rate
etch
Slow (0.1μm/min) to fast Fast (1μm/min to
Typical Etch Rate
6μm/min)
Equipment cost Expensive Less expensive
Use EDP (Ethylene
Use Plasma diamine pyrocatechol),
KOH (potassium
hydroxide) &
Tetramethyl ammonium
hydroxide

b. Photolithography

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 It involves depositing photosensitive chemicals (called photoresists) on a


silicon wafer, exposing it with light through a mask, and removing
(develop) photoresist material that has been modified by light.
 Coat a wafer with photoresist is done by spin coating.
 A wafer is held on a rotating stage. Photoresist is applied to the centre of the
wafer at rest position. The wafer is then spun at high speed, causing the
photoresist to move towards the edge of the wafer under centrifugal forces.

Fig. Spin Coating

Fabrication steps for patterning photoresist with a photo-mask:


Step (a) a wafer is first covered with a uniform thin layer of resist
Step (b) a mask, consisting of a transparent substrate (eg. Glass) with
opaque features are brought close to the resist coated wafer. High energy,
light rays strikes mask wafer assembly.
Step (c) for positive photoresist, the exposure by light causes the resist to
be more soluble in a wet chemical developer
Step (d) this allows the mask to be faithfully transferred to the wafer.
2. Explain the Czochralski growth process in single crystal substrates
(NOV 2017)

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 Czochralski growth is the most popular method used to produce most


of the single-crystal substrates used in microelectronics and MEMS.
 High-grade polycrystalline silicon is loaded into a fused silica crucible
that is purged with an inert gas. The crucible and its contents are
heated to approximately 1500°C to form a molten bath.
 A seed crystal is then lowered into contact with the molten bath. This
crystal is approximately 0.5 cm in diameter, and it has been carefully
etched and oriented because it will serve as a template for crystal
growth.

 The solidification or crystal growth is accomplished by the reduction in


temperature as the seed crystal is gradually withdrawn from the molten
bath.
 The crucible and the seed crystal are then counter-rotated; the pull rate
and temperature of the furnace are lowered to form a boule of the
desired size. Boules of up to 300 mm in diameter can be produced.
 Silicon in its pure or intrinsic state is a semiconductor with an electrical
resistance between that of a conductor and an insulator. The
resistance can be significantly varied by introducing a small amount of
impurities into the silicon crystal lattice. These impurities or dopants are
added to the molten bath to obtain wafers of a particular resistivity.

3. Determine the amplitude and frequency of vibration of a 10 mg mass


suspended from a spring with a spring constant k =6x10-5N/M. The

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vibration of the mass is initiated by a small pull of the mass downwards


by an amount 5µm (NOV 2017) (APRIL 2017)
Refer the Xerox material
4. Write short notes on torsional deflection. (April 2018) (NOV 2017)

Refer Page No. 118

5. Discuss on stress strain relationship (April 2018)


 Stress is developed in response to mechanical loading. It is classified
into two categories
𝐹
o Normal stress (𝜎 = 𝐴)
o Shear stress

∆𝐿
 Stress and strain (𝑠 = ) are closely related, under small
𝐿0
deformation. According to Hooke’s law
𝜎 = 𝐸𝑠 Where E is called the modulus of elasticity, S is the strain
 A stress and strain curve is illustrated in figure below. At low levels of
applied stress and strain, the stress value increases proportionally with
respect to the developed strain. This segment of the stress- strain
curve is called the elastic deformation range. If the stress is removed,
the material will return to its original shape.
 As the stress exceeds a certain level, the material enters the plastic
deformation range. In this range, the amount of stress and strain does
not follow a linear relationship. Furthermore, deformation cannot be
fully recovered after the external loading is removed.

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For many metals, the relationship is


shown in fig.
 Stressand strain relationship can be expressed as vectors. Let us consider a
cube & stress acting on the cube.
 A cube has 6 faces. Consequently,
o There are 12 possible shear force components two for each faces.
o There are 6 possible normal stress components – one for each face of a
cube.

 Normal stress components 𝜎𝑥𝑥 , 𝜎𝑦𝑦 , 𝜎𝑧𝑧 are simply noted as T1, T2

&T3 respectively.

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 Shear stress components 𝜏𝑦𝑧 , 𝜏𝑥𝑧 , 𝜏𝑥𝑦 are simply noted as T4,T5 &

T6 respectively.
 Correspondingly, there are three independent strains(s1,s2 &s3) and
three shear strain (s4, s5 & s6).
 The general matrix equation between stress and strain is T=Cs where
C is called the stiffness matrix.

𝐶
11 𝐶12 𝐶13 𝐶14 𝐶15 𝐶16 𝑠1
𝑇1
𝑇2 𝐶21 𝐶22 𝐶23 𝐶24 𝐶25 𝐶26 𝑠2
𝑇3 𝐶31 𝐶32 𝐶33 𝐶34 𝐶35 𝐶36 𝑠3
=
𝑇4 𝐶41 𝐶42 𝐶43 𝐶44 𝐶45 𝐶46 𝑠4
𝑇5 𝐶51 𝐶52 𝐶53 𝐶54 𝐶55 𝐶56 𝑠5
𝑇6 𝐶 𝐶62 𝐶63 𝐶64 𝐶65 𝐶 66
61 𝑠6

6. Define beam. Name the types of beams and point out the possible
boundary conditions (NOV 2016)
A beam is a structure member subjected to loads that is, force or moments
having their vector perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, causing the
member to bend.

Beams are usually described by the manner in which they are supported.

Boundary conditions – According to their restrictions on Degree Of Freedom


(DOF)

Number Number
Boundary conditions Example
of Linear of

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Degree Angular
of Degree
Freedom of
Freedom
Fixed (Clamped)
The fixed boundary
conditions restricts both
linear and rotational Degree 0 0

Of Freedom (DOF)

Guided
The guided boundary
conditions allow two linear 2 0
DOF but restricts the
rotational DOF.
Free
The free boundary
conditions provide for both
2 1
Linear and rotational DOF

7. Explain the new materials which replace the silicon material in


micromachining techniques.(April 2018)

There are two types of substrate materials


Passive substrate materials for support only. These include polymers, plastics,
ceramics, etc.,
Active substrate materials such as silicon Ga As, and quartz for the sensing or
actuating components in MEMS

Silicon is an ideal substrate for MEMS:

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Single crystal silicon is the most widely used substrate material for MEMS
because of the following reasons.
1. Mechanically stable
2. High melting point
3. Greater flexibility
4. No mechanical hysteresis
5. Its thermal expansion coefficient is about 8 times smaller than that of
steel.

Disadvantages of silicon substrate:


1. Brittle material
2. Anisotropic (this makes accurate stress analysis of silicon structures
tedious, since directional mechanical property must be included.)

Quartz:
 Quartz is an ideal material for sensors because of its near absolute
thermal dimensional stability.
 Inexpensive
 More flexibility in geometry than silicon
 Quartz is a desirable material in micro fluidics applications in
biomedical analyses.
 Excellent resonance capability for precision micro actuation.
Disadvantages:
 It is hard to shape into desirable configurations
Gallium Arsenide:
 Has fast response & High electron mobility than silicon
 Can be used as Thermal insulator
 Suitable for surface micromachining.
 Its high piezoelectricity makes this material suitable for precision
microactuation.

Disadvantages:
1. Low yield strength
2. More expensive than silicon

Polymers:
1. Used primarily as passive substrate material.
2. Low cost in both materials and production processes.
3. Easily formed into the desired shapes.
4. Has flexibility in ‘alloying’ for specific purpose.
5. Sensitive to environmental conditions such as temperature and moisture.
6. Most polymers age; i.e., they deteriorate with time.

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Other Substrates in the silicon family:


Silicon dioxide:
1. Can be easily grown on a silicon substrate surface
2. Excellent for both thermal and electrical insulation
3. Can be used as good masking material for wet etching of silicon
substrate.
Silicon Carbide:
1. Chemical stability at high temperatures.
2. Very strong resistance to oxidation even at very high temperatures and
make it suitable for masks for dry etching
3. Dry etching with aluminium masks can easily pattern it.
Silicon Nitride:
 It provides an excellent barrier to diffusion of water and ions such as
sodium.
 Its ultra strong resistance to oxidation and many etchants make it
suitable for masks for deep etching.
 It is also used as high strength electric insulators and ion implantation
masks.
 An excellent material for optical wave guidance.
Polycrystalline silicon:
1. Widely used as resistors, gate for transistors and for thin film
transistors.
2. A good material for controlling the electrical characteristics of
substrates.

8. Explain the process of silicon based MEMS process (NOV 2018)

Silicon available in three general forms


● Single crystal silicon
● Polycrystalline silicon
● Amorphous silicon
Single Crystal silicon:
Single crystal silicon is often encountered in three cases
i)Wafer process Czochralski growth
ii) epitaxially grown silicon thin films
iii)Single crystal silicon obtained from recrystallizing polycrystalline or
amorphous silicon by heat treatment.

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Polycrystalline silicon:
A polycrystalline silicon material is made of multiple crystalline domains (Ref
Fig). Within each individual domain, the crystal lattice is regularly aligned.
However, crystal orientations are different in neighboring domains. The
polysilicon material can be grown by low pressure chemical vapor deposition
(LPCVD) or by re crystallizing amorphous silicon by heat treatment.
Amorphous silicon:
Amorphous silicon exhibits no crystalline regularity. Amorphous silicon films
can be deposited by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) at a lower temperature
than that required to deposit polysilicon.
Process for micromachined pressure sensor:
Step A: The process starts with a bare silicon wafer. To create the desired
cavity shapes, the wafer must be a certain crystallographic orientation. The
wafer is cleaned thoroughly to remove any large dirt particles and invisible
organic residues. A combined mechanical wash and oxidizing acid bath
may be used, followed by a rinse with ultrapure water.
Step B: The cleaned wafer is placed inside a high temperature furnace filled
with running oxygen gas or water vapor. Oxygen atoms present in the air or
dissociated from the water molecule will react with silicon to form a
protective silicon dioxide thin film. Note the oxide is grown on both
sides of the wafer as well as on the edges.
Step C: The wafer is removed from the furnace and cooled to room
temperature. A layer of thin film photoresist is deposited on the front
surface of the wafer.
Step D & E: The photoresist is exposed through a mask with a high energy
radiation such as ultraviolet rays or X-ray. The entire wafer is then placed

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inside a developing solution that removes loosely bound photosensitive


polymer.

Step F: The photoresist is removed using an organic solvent etchant


such as acetone. The organic solvent does not etch the oxide and the
silicon.
Step G: The silicon wafer is immersed in a wet silicon etchant, which does
not attack the silicon oxide. Only the silicon in the open oxide window is
etched, resulting in a cavity with sidewalls defined by crystallographic planes.
Step H: The wafer at the end of step G is tilted to provide a clear view of the
through wafer cavity.
Step I: A second silicon wafer is firmly bound to the front of the bottom wafer
processed through step G.
Step J: The bonded top wafer is thinned via mechanical polishing or chemical
etching.
Step K: Strain sensors are then made on the prepared membrane. A thin
layer (e.g. oxide) is deposited and patterned. It serves as a barrier layer to ion
implantation Areas on the silicon wafer that are hit directly by energetic
dopant ions will become doped and form a piezoresistor, which changes its
resistance upon applied stress (due to membranes bending under the
pressure difference)

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Step L: The wafer is tilted and presents another view of the through wafer
cavity.

9. Write a detailed technical note on the following (APRIL 2019) (APRIL 2017)
Silicon crystal plane and its orientation (OR) Determine the angle between the
orientation <100> to the <111> plane in a single crystal cell.

Silicon belongs to the cubic crystal system and has a diamond structure. This is
characterized by having each atom symmetrically surrounded by four equally spaced
neighbours in a tetrahedral arrangement.

Orientation: Material properties (such as Young's modulus of elasticity, mobility)


and chemical etch rates of silicon exhibit orientation dependency.

 A set of common notations called Miller Indexes has been developed for
identifying and visualizing planes and directions in a crystal lattice.
 Silicon Lattice belongs to the cubic lattice family exhibits rotational symmetry
property.
 Crystals that are oriented with one of the {100} planes as its surface are called
(100) wafers.
 If a face diagonal of the unit cell is normal to the wafer surface. It is called a
(110) wafer.
 And if a cube diagonal is normal to the wafer surface, It is called a (111)
wafer.

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 The miller Index is also used to denote directions in a crystal lattice.


 The most frequently encountered silicon crystal planes in MEMS are
illustrated below. Note the positions of the {100},{110} and {111} families of
surfaces, along with the corresponding crystal directions<100>,<110> and
<111>.

10. Write a detailed technical note on the following Longitudinal strain


under pure bending (APRIL 2019) (or) Explain the Flexural beam bending
under simple loading conditions (NOV 2018) (NOV 2017) (APRIL 17)
(NOV 16).
Flexural beams are commonly encountered in MEMS as spring support
elements.

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Flexural beams are classified according to the combination of two mechanical


boundary conditions associated with it. For example, a beam fixed at one end
and free at another is commonly called a Cantilever beam.

● The analysis of static deflection and stress in a beam under stress is an


important parameter in MEMS design.
● When a beam is loaded by force, stress and strains are created throughout
the interior of the beam. The force acting on a beam causethe beam to bend ,
deforming its axis into a curve.
● The longitudinal strains in a beam can be found by analyzing the curvature of
the beam and the associated deformations
Assumptions:
● For this purpose, Let us consider a portion of a beam (A-B) in pure pending
(that is the moment is constant throughout the beam).
● We assume that the beam initially has a straight longitudinal axis ( x axis as
shown in fig.)
● It is assumed that cross sections of the beam, such as sections mn and pq,
remain plane and normal to the longitudinal axis.
● The surface, indicated by the dashed line is called the neutral surface of the
beam.

● Because of the bending deformations, cross sections, mn and pq rotate with


respect to each other about axes perpendicular to the xy plane. Longitudinal
lines in the lower part of the beam are elongated, whereas those on the upper
side are shortened.
○ Lower part of the beam - tension
○ Upper part of the beam - Compression
● For a beam with symmetry and material homogeneous, the distribution of
stress and strain is observed by the following guidelines.

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○ The magnitude of stress and strain at any interior point is linearly


proportional to the distance between the point and the neutral axis.
○ On a given cross section, the maximum tensile stress and compressive
stress occur at the top and bottom surface of the cantilever.
○ The maximum tensile stress and the maximum compressive stress
have the same magnitude.
○ Under pure bending the magnitude of the maximum stress is constant
throughout the length of the beam.
The maximum longitudinal strain is expressed as a function of the total torque M
𝑡
2
𝜎𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝜎𝑚𝑎𝑥
𝑀= 𝑡 ℎ2 𝑑𝐴 = 𝑡 𝐼
2 𝑡 2
ℎ= −
2
𝑀𝑡
εmax =
2𝐸𝐼
The term I is called the moment of Inertia
11. Problem: Page number 100 Example 3.4
12. Consider a piece of silicon under room temperature and thermal
equilibrium. The silicon is doped with boron with a doping concentration of
1016 atoms/cm3. Find the electron and hole concentrations. (April 2018)
Refer Page. No. 89 Example 3.1

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