Development of electrochemical etch-stop techniques for integrated MEMS sensors

Yaşınok, Gözde Ceren
This thesis presents the development of electrochemical etch-stop techniques (ECES) to achieve high precision 3-dimensional integrated MEMS sensors with wet anisotropic etching by applying proper voltages to various regions in silicon. The anisotropic etchant is selected as tetra methyl ammonium hydroxide, TMAH, considering its high silicon etch rate, selectivity towards SiO2, and CMOS compatibility, especially during front-side etching of the chip/wafer. A number of parameters affecting the etching are investigated, including the effect of temperature, illumination, and concentration of the etchant over the etch rate of silicon, surface roughness, and biasing voltages. The biasing voltages for passivating the n-well and enhancing the etching reactions on p-substrate are determined as -0.5V and -1.6V, respectively, after a series of current-voltage characteristic experiments. The surface roughness due to TMAH etching is prevented with the addition of ammonium peroxodisulfate, AP. A proper etching process is achieved using a 10wt.% TMAH at 85°C with 10gr/lt. AP. Different silicon etch samples are produced in METU-MET facilities to understand and optimize ECES parameters that can be used for CMOS microbolometers. The etch samples are fabricated using various processes, including thermal oxidation, boron and phosphorus diffusions, aluminum and silicon nitride layer deposition processes. Etching with the prepared samples shows the dependency of the depletion layer between p-substrate and nwell, explaining the reason of the previous failures during post-CMOS etching of CMOS microbolometers from the front side. Succesfully etched CMOS microbolometers are achieved with back side etching in 6M KOH at 90 °C, where 3.5V and 1.5V are applied to the p-substrate and n-well. In summary, this study provides an extensive understanding of the ECES process for successful implementations of integrated MEMS sensors.


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Citation Formats
G. C. Yaşınok, “Development of electrochemical etch-stop techniques for integrated MEMS sensors,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2006.