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The surface/bulk micromachining (SBM) process: a new method for fabricating released MEMS in single crystal silicon

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3 Author(s)
Sangwoo Lee ; Sch. of Electr. Eng., Seoul Nat. Univ., South Korea ; Sangjun Park ; Dong-il Cho

This paper presents the surface/bulk micromachining (SBM) process to allow fabricating released microelectromechanical systems using bulk silicon. The process starts with a (111)-oriented silicon wafer. The structural patterns are defined using the reactive ion etching technique used in surface micromachining. Then the patterns, as well as sidewalls, are passivated with an oxide film, and bare silicon is exposed at desired areas. The exposed bare silicon is further reactive ion etched, which defines sacrificial gap dimensions. The final release is accomplished by undercutting the exposed bulk silicon sidewalls in aqueous alkaline etchants. Because {111} planes are used as etch stops, very clean structural surfaces can be obtained. Using the SBM process, 5-, 10-, and 100-μm-thick arbitrarily-shaped single crystal silicon structures, including comb-drive resonators, at 5-, 30-, and 100-μm sacrificial gaps, respectively, are fabricated. An electrostatic actuation method using p-n junction isolation is also developed in this paper, and it is applied to actuate comb-drive resonators. The leakage current and junction capacitance of the reversed-biased p-n junction diodes are also found to be sufficiently small for sensor applications. The developed SBM process is a plausible alternative to the existing micromachining methods in fabricating microsensors and microactuators, with the advantage of using single crystal silicon

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 4 )