Self-Controlled Cleaving Method for Silicon DRIE Process Cross-Section Characterization
Advanced microsystems widely used in integrated optoelectronic devices, energy harvesting components, and microfluidic lab-on-chips require high-aspect silicon microstructures with a precisely controlled profile. Such microstructures can be fabricated using the Bosch process, which is a key process for the mass production of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) devices. One can measure the etching profile at a cross-section to characterize the Bosch process quality by cleaving the substrate
... ving the substrate into two pieces. However, the cleaving process of several neighboring deeply etched microstructures is a very challenging and uncontrollable task. The cleaving method affects both the cleaving efficiency and the metrology quality of the resulting etched microstructures. The standard cleaving technique using a diamond scriber does not solve this issue. Herein, we suggest a highly controllable cross-section cleaving method, which minimizes the effect on the resulting deep etching profile. We experimentally compare two cleaving methods based on various auxiliary microstructures: (1) etched transverse auxiliary lines of various widths (from 5 to 100 μm) and positions; and (2) etched dashed auxiliary lines. The interplay between the auxiliary lines and the etching process is analyzed for dense periodic and isolated trenches sized from 2 to 50 μm with an aspect ratio of more than 10. We experimentally showed that an incorrect choice of auxiliary line parameters leads to silicon "build-up" defects at target microstructures intersections, which significantly affects the cross-section profile metrology. Finally, we suggest a highly controllable defect-free cross-section cleaving method utilizing dashed auxiliary lines with the stress concentrators.