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Silicon micromachining using in situ DC microplasmas

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2 Author(s)
C. G. Wilson ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Wisconsin Univ., Madison, WI, USA ; Y. B. Gianchandani

This paper reports on the generation of spatially confined plasmas and their application to silicon etching. The etching is performed using SF6 gas and dc power applied between thin-film electrodes patterned on the silicon wafer to be etched. The electrodes also serve as a mask for the etching. The typical operating pressure and power density are in the range of 1-20 Torr and 1-10 W/cm2, respectively. The plasma confinement can be varied from <100 μm to >1 cm by varying the electrode area, operating pressure, and power. High power densities can be achieved at moderate currents because the electrode areas are small. Etch rates of 4-17 μm/min., which enable through-wafer etching and varying degrees of anisotropy, have been achieved. The etch rate increases with power density, whereas the etch rate per unit power density increases with operating pressure. Scaling effects are explored for varying sized mask openings. Plasma resistance measurements and electric field modeling are used to provide an initial assessment of the microplasmas

Published in:

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 1 )