Silicon Anisotropic Etching in Ternary Solution Composed of TΜΑΗ+Triton+NH2ΟΗ

Tuesday, 30 May 2017: 09:20
Grand Salon A - Section 4 (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
V. Swarnalatha, A. V. Narasimha Rao, and P. Pal (Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad)
Wet chemical etching is extensively used in the fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) owing to its several benefits such as low cost, easy handling, and bulk production [1, 2]. TMAH and KOH are most widely employed etchants for silicon anisotropic etching. In these two etchants, TMAH is preferred when complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatibility is a major concern and the oxide layer is used as mask material [2, 3]. Etching behavior of TMAH can be modified by the incorporation of different kinds of additives such surfactants, alcohol, etc. [2-4]. Significant amount of research has been done to modify the etching characteristics by adding some additives, however very less is reported on TMAH-based ternary solutions. Present research reports the anisotropic etching characteristics of silicon in various concentrations of TMAH (5 wt%, 15 wt%, and 25 wt%) solutions containing 10% NH2OH and Triton-X-100 ranging from ppb to ppm level. The etch rate, undercutting at convex corners, and etched surface morphology are investigated in different compositions of ternary solutions (TMAH+NH2OH+Triton). Optical microscope, scanning electron microscope (SEM), and three-dimensional (3D) measuring laser microscope are employed for the characterization of etched surface morphology and to measure the etch depth and undercutting at convex corners. Figure 1 presents the etch rate of Si{100} and the undercutting rate (U<110> = l<110>/d, l<110>: undercutting length along <110> direction, d: etch depth) at convex corners. High etch rate and undercutting are achieved in NH2OH-added 15 wt% TMAH, while significantly less undercutting with reasonably good etch rate of Si{100} (Er = 18 µm/hr) is obtained in 25 wt% TMAH+10%NH2OH+1ppm Triton. The high undercutting is desirable when freestanding structures are fabricated, while it is unwanted effect when microstructures with convex corners have to be fabricated such as mesa structure. The present research is very useful for engineering applications for the fabrication of microstructures using CMOS-compatible silicon bulk micromachining for MEMS-based devices.


[1] I. Zubel, M. Kramkowska, J. Micromech. Microeng. 15 485 (2004).

[2] P. Pal, and K. Sato. J. Micromech.Microeng. 19 055003 (2009).

[3] A. Ashok and P. Pal, Microsy. Technol. 1-8 (2015).

[4] Y.W. Xu, A. Michael, C.Y. Kwok, Sens. Actuators A 166, 164-171 (2011).