Fabrication of SOI micromechanical devices: Dissertation

    Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


    This work reports on studies and the fabrication process development of micromechanical silicon-on-insulator (SOI) devices. SOI is a promising starting material for fabrication of single crystal silicon micromechanical devices and basis for monolithic integration of sensors and integrated circuits. The buried oxide layer of an SOI wafer offers an excellent etch stop layer for silicon etching and sacrificial layer for fabrication of capacitive sensors. Deep silicon etching is studied and the aspect ratio dependency of the etch rate and loading effects are described and modeled. The etch rate of the deep silicon etching process is modeled with a simple flow conductance model, which takes into account only the initial etch rate and reaction probability and flow resistance of the etched feature. The used model predicts qualitatively the aspect-ratio-dependent etch rate for varying trench widths and rectangular shapes. The design related loading can be modeled and the effects of the loading can be minimized with proper etch mask design. The basic SOI micromechanics process is described and the drawbacks and limitations of the process are discussed. Improvements to the process are introduced as well as IR microscopy as a new method to inspect the sacrificial etch length of the SOI structure. A new fabrication process for SOI micromechanics has been developed that alleviates metallization problems during the wet etching of the sacrificial layer. The process is based on forming closed cavities under the structure layer of SOI with the help of a semi-permeable polysilicon film. Prototype SOI device fabrication results are presented. High Q single crystal silicon micro resonators have potential for replacing bulky quartz resonators in clock circuits. Monolithic integration of micromechanical devices and an integrated circuit has been demonstrated with the developed process using the embedded vacuum cavities.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor Degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    Award date15 Apr 2005
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    Print ISBNs951-38-6435-9
    Electronic ISBNs951-38-6436-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • silicon-on-insulator
    • SOI
    • micromechanics
    • MEMS
    • microfabrication
    • HARMST
    • DRIE
    • etching
    • vacuum cavities
    • resonators
    • monolithic integration


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