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This paper explores the development of high-temperature pressure sensors based on polycrystalline and single-crystalline 3C-SiC piezoresistors and fabricated by bulk micromachining the underlying 100-mm diameter (100) silicon substrate. In one embodiment, phosphorus-doped APCVD polycrystalline 3C-SiC (poly-SiC) was used for the piezoresistors and sensor diaphragm, with LPCVD silicon nitride employed to electrically isolate the piezoresistor from the diaphragm. These piezoresistors fabricated from poly-SiC films deposited at different temperatures and doping levels were characterized, showing -2.1 as the best gauge factor and exhibited a sensitivities up to 20.9-mV/V*psi at room temperature. In a second embodiment, epitaxially-grown unintentionally nitrogen-doped single-crystalline 3C-SiC piezoresistors were fabricated on silicon diaphragms, with thermally grown silicon dioxide employed for the piezoresistor electrical isolation from the diaphragm. The associated 3C-SiC/SiO2/Si substrate was fabricated by bonding a (100) silicon wafer carrying the 3C-SiC onto a silicon wafer with thermal oxide covering its surface. The 3C-SiC handle wafer was then etched away in KOH. The diaphragm was fabricated by time etching the silicon substrate. The sensors were tested at temperatures up to 400°C and exhibited a sensitivity of 177.6-mV/V*psi at room temperature and 63.1-mV/V*psi at 400°C. The estimated longitudinal gauge factor of 3C-SiC piezoresistors along the  direction was estimated at about -18 at room temperature and -7 at 400°C.
Date of Publication: April 2006