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A thermally isolated microstructure suitable for gas sensing applications

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3 Author(s)
Huff, M.A. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA ; Senturia, S.D. ; Howe, R.T.

A thermally isolated microstructure for use in metal-oxide gas sensing applications was fabricated and tested. Using the techniques of bulk micromachining, a thin silicon membrane 5 mu m thick was fabricated and then used as a structural support during subsequent device processing. The mechanical stability of the thin silicon membrane was found to be dependent on the compressive surface-oxide thickness which induced membrane buckling. A study of the buckling criteria was examined in detail by performing etch-back experiments on a series of sequentially sized membranes and observing the transition for buckling. A linear relationship between oxide thickness and membrane edge length squared was found. The device is fabricated over the membrane on the wafer surface and consists of a sandwich of LPCVD Si/sub 3/N/sub 4/, LPCVD poly-Si and LPCVD Si/sub 3/N/sub 4/. After device fabrication, the support membranes is etched away leaving the device completely isolated from the substrate. The measured values of power consumption and thermal time constant are compared with a simple model.<>

Published in:

Solid-State Sensor and Actuator Workshop, 1988. Technical Digest., IEEE

Date of Conference:

6-9 June 1988

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