High speed silicon wet anisotropic etching for applications in bulk micromachining: a review

Pal, Prem and Swarnalatha, Veerla and Rao, Avvaru Venkata Narasimha and Pandey, Ashok Kumar and Tanaka, Hiroshi and Sato, Kazuo (2021) High speed silicon wet anisotropic etching for applications in bulk micromachining: a review. Micro and Nano Systems Letters, 9 (1). ISSN 2213-9621

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Wet anisotropic etching is extensively employed in silicon bulk micromachining to fabricate microstructures for various applications in the field of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). In addition, it is most widely used for surface texturing to minimize the reflectance of light to improve the efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells. In wet bulk micromachining, the etch rate is a major factor that affects the throughput. Slower etch rate increases the fabrication time and therefore is of great concern in MEMS industry where wet anisotropic etching is employed to perform the silicon bulk micromachining, especially to fabricate deep cavities and freestanding microstructures by removal of underneath material through undercutting process. Several methods have been proposed to increase the etch rate of silicon in wet anisotropic etchants either by physical means (e.g. agitation, microwave irradiation) or chemically by incorporation of additives. The ultrasonic agitation during etching and microwave irradiation on the etchants increase the etch rate. However, ultrasonic method may rupture the fragile structures and microwave irradiation causes irradiation damage to the structures. Another method is to increase the etching temperature towards the boiling point of the etchant. The etching characteristics of pure potassium hydroxide solution (KOH) is studied near the boiling point of KOH, while surfactant added tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) is investigated at higher temperature to increase the etch rate. Both these studies have shown a potential way of increasing the etch rate by elevating the temperature of the etchants to its boiling point, which is a function of concentration of etch solution. The effect of various kinds of additives on the etch rate of silicon is investigated in TMAH and KOH. In this paper, the additives which improve the etch rate have been discussed. Recently the effect of hydroxylamine (NH2OH) on the etching characteristics of TMAH and KOH is investigated in detail. The concentration of NH2OH in TMAH/KOH is varied to optimize the etchant composition to obtain improved etching characteristics especially the etch rate and undercutting which are important parameters for increasing throughput. In this article, different methods explored to improve the etch rate of silicon have been discussed so that the researchers/scientists/engineers can get the details of these methods in a single reference.

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IITH Creators:
IITH CreatorsORCiD
Pandey, Ashok KumarUNSPECIFIED
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: KOH, MEMS, Micromachining, NH2OH, Silicon, TMAH, Wet anisotropic etching
Subjects: Physics > Mechanical and aerospace
Divisions: Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Depositing User: . LibTrainee 2021
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2021 06:33
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2021 06:33
URI: http://raiith.iith.ac.in/id/eprint/7673
Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1186/s40486-021-00129-0
OA policy: https://v2.sherpa.ac.uk/id/publication/24323
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