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Deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) of silicon on insulator (SOI) wafer has become a popular method to build microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) because it is versatile and simple. However when the devices using this technology become large in size or have compliant beams, the stiction occurring during the HF wet release is a serious problem. We have observed that some structure patterns could be wet released more easily than others. In this paper, we discuss the relationship between structure patterns and their stiction property, and describe the notching effect, which is found to be the mechanism behind this dependence. We finally provide simple mask layout design rules to utilize this effect to our advantage. These rules allow etching the structure and releasing it with the same DRIE step, without any wet process. Alternatively, this method will completely remove the stiction appearing during wet release or other further wet processes. We show the application of these rules on the fabrication of a large moving stage.
Date of Publication: June 2006