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Bulk micromachining

Explain the differences between isotropic and anisotropic etching


Explain the differences between wet and dry etching techniques
Identify several common wet etchants and explain what they are commonly used for
Explain the difference between rate limited and diffusion limited reactions
Explain in general terms the different theories behind the differences in etch rate for different
crystal directions in the anisotropic etching of silicon
Discern the resulting shapes of trenches (pits) resulting from the anisotropic etching of Si for
different mask and wafer combinations
List and explain the most common etch stop techniques
List and describe the most common dry etching techniques
Perform basic calculations for wet etching processes

Bulk micromachining

Silicon etched
SiO2

Isotropic
etch
Silicon wafer

Silicon etched

Anisotropic
etch
Silicon wafer

Etching
Etching: Chemical reaction resulting in the removal
of material
Wet etching:
etchants in liquid form
Dry etching:
etchants contained is gas or plasma
ionized gas

Etch rate:
material removed per time (m/mi

Selectivity and undercutting


Selectivity:
etch rate of one material compared to
another
etch rate of one crystalline direction
compared to another
54.7

SiO2

[100] [111]

Undercutting

(100)
Si

SEM image of a SiO2 cantilever formed by undercutting


(S. Mohana Sundaram and A. Ghosh, Department of
Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore)

Application and properties of different wet etchants

High HF tends to
etch SiO2
Acidic etchants tend to
etch Si isotropically
Basic etchants tend to
etch Si anisotropically
Depend on concentration
and temperature

Rate versus diffusion limited etching


Etchant

Products
Rate limited
reaction

Etchant

Products
Diffusion
limited
reaction

Rate limited
reactions are
preferred
easier to
control and
more
repeatable

Isotropic etching
d

Etch rate is the same in all


directions
Typically acidic

undercutti
ng

Estimate of etch
depth
depth (D-d)/2

Room temperature
Isotropy is due to the fast
Reaction or diffusion limited?
chemical reactions
X m/min to XX m/min

Isotropic etching
HNA:

HF/HNO3/HC2H3O2

Used in isotropic etching of silicon


Also called poly etch
HNO3 (aq) + Si(s) + 6HF (aq) H2SiF6 (aq) + HNO2 (aq) + H2O (l) + H2 (g)
The etching process actually occurs in several steps.
First step, nitric acid oxidizes the silicon
HNO3 (aq) + H2O (l) + Si (s) SiO2 (s) + HNO2 (aq)+ H2 (g)
In the second step, the newly formed silicon dioxide is etched by the
hydrofluoric acid.
SiO2 (s) + 6HF (aq) H2SiF6 (aq) + 2 H2O (l)

Isotropic etching
BOE (Buffered Oxide Etch):

HF/NH4F/H2O

Used in isotropic etching of silicon dioxide and glass


Basically proceeds from the second step of etching Si:

SiO2 (s) + 6HF (aq) H2SiF6 (aq) + 2 H2O (l)

Anisotropic etching
d

[111]
54.7
[100]

undercutti
ng

Etch rate is different for


Etch depths
different crystal plane
depend on
directions
geometry
Typically basic etchants
Undercutting also
Elevated temperatures (70depends on
120C)
Reaction or diffusion limited?
geometry
Different theories propose for
anisotropy

Properties of different anisotropic etchants of Si

Theories for anisotropic etching


Siedel et al.
1 dangling
bond

(111)

2 dangling
bonds

(100)

Silicon lattice

The lower reaction rate for the {111} planes is caused by the larger
activation energy required to break bonds behind the etch plane. This is
due to the larger bond density of silicon atoms behind the {111} plane.

Theories for anisotropic etching


Siedel et al. (Continued)
Reduction of water believed to be the rate determining step
OH- believed to be provided by H2O near Si surface
Si + 2OH- SiOH2++ + 4 eSiOH2++ + 4 e- + 4 H2O Si(OH)6-- +2 H2

(oxidation step)
(reduction step)

Elwenspoek et al.
Suggests surface roughness is reason
{111} plane is atomically flat, no nucleation sites

Self-limiting etch and undercutting


Concave
corner

[111][111]

Convex
corner
exposes
other planes

Intersection of {111} planes can cause selflimiting etch.


Only works with concave corners

Resulting undercutting can be used


to create suspended structures

Anisotropic etching of (110) silicon


Mask with large
aspect ratio
{111}

{111}
{110}
{111}

Mask with small


aspect ratio

{111}
Vertical sidewalls and 90
angles!

{110} planes etch


about twice as fast as
{100} planes in KOH

Top view

Long narrow mask openings


can be used to create long
narrow channels with
vertical sidewalls

Anisotropic etching of (111) silicon


How fast does the (111)
plane etch?

usually used as base (Big green


Lego)
for surface micromachining

Sin embargo, todava es posbile usar lo en bulk micromachining


pre-etched
pit

protected
sidewalls

Te toca a ti
Sketch the cross-sections resulting from anisotropically etching the
silicon wafers shown with the given masks.

Etch stop
EtchTechnique to actively stop the etching process
stop:
Insulator etch stop

Self-limiting etch

Timed etch

insultin
g layer

Etch stop via doping

p-n
junction

Etch stop via doping


Boron etch
stop
Si + 2OH- SiOH2++ + 4 eSiOH2++ + 4 e- + 4 H2O Si(OH)6-- +2 H2

(oxidation step)
(reduction step)
n type wafer
heavily doped
with B
(called a p+
wafer)

n region
p region
p-n junction

p region Si
deficient in e-

High level of p-type doping


is not compatible with CMOS
standards for integrated
circuit fabrication

Etch stop via doping


Electrochemical etch stop
(ECE)
Si + 2OH- SiOH2++ + 4 eSiOH2++ + 4 e- + 4 H2O Si(OH)6-- +2 H2

(oxidation step)
(reduction step)

e- ep type wafer
doped n-type
dopant
p region
n region

SiO2
p-n junction

diod
e

V
+

Reverse bias
voltage applied to
p-n junction keeps
current from
flowing

Very light doping compared to boron etch


stop. OK with CMOS standards for

Dry etching
Etching: Chemical reaction resulting in the removal of
material
Wet etching:
etchants in liquid form
Dry etching:
etchants contained is gas or plasma

electrodes
- - - - - - - - -

excited
ions

Accelerated to target via the electric


field

+ + + + + + + +

wafer

Plasma etching:
mostly chemical etching

Reactive ion etching (RIE):


In addition to the chemical
etching, accelerated ions also
physically etch the surface

Chemically reactive gas formed by


collision of
molecules of reactive gas with
energetic electrons
Excited/ignited be RF (radio
frequency) electric field ~ 10-15 MHz

Reactive ion etching


Plasma hits surface with large
energy

In addition to the chemical


reaction, there is physical etching
(Parece tirar piedras en la arena)
Can be very directionalcan create
tall, skinny channels
If there is no chemical reaction at all,
the technique is called ion milling.

(Intellisense Corporation)

Common dry etchant/material combinations


Material

Reactive gas

Silicon
(Crystalline or
polysilicon)

Chlorine-base: Cl2, CCl2, F2

SiO2

Fluorine-base: CF4, SF6, NF3

Al

Chlorine-base: Cl2, CCl4, SiCl4,


BCl3

Si3N4

Fluorine-base: CF4, SF6, NF3

Photoresist

O2 (Ashing)

Fluorine-base: XeF2, CF4, SF6,


NF3

Deep reactive ion etching (DRIE)


Bosch process
1st, reactive ion etching step takes
place
2nd, fluorocarbon polymer deposited
to protect sidewalls

Scalloping
Kane Miller, Mingxiao Li, Kevin M Walshand Xiao-An
Fu,
The effects of DRIE operational parameters on
vertically aligned micropillar arrays, Journal of
Micromechanics and Microengineering, 23 (3)

Te toca a ti
Wet etching problems
1. A pattern is etched into a <100> Si wafer as described below. Answer the questions that
follow.

A 300 nm thick layer of oxide is grown on the surface of the Si wafer. Photoresist is
applied to the oxide surface, and patterned using standard photolithographic
techniques. The pattern is etched into the oxide. The exposed Si is etched
anisotropically to achieve the desired feature.

a. Should the photoresist be removed before the Si etching step? Justify your answer.
b. What etchant will you use for the oxide?
c. What etchant will you use for the Si?

2. You are asked to make a V-shaped grooves 60 m deep in an oxidized <100> silicon
wafer

a. How wide must the opening in the oxide mask be in order to achieve this result?