Nano- and Microelectromechanical Systems

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Continued research in nanoscale science and engineering promises to revolutionize many fields and lead to a new technological base and infrastructure that will have major impact on the US and world economies. The impact will be felt in areas as diverse as computing and information technology, health care and biotechnology, environment, energy, transportation, and space exploration, to name a few. Our department is committed to the development of nanoengineering, with several groups conducting research in this field. Some key areas of research include nanoinstrumentation nano energy conversion, nano bioengineering and nano computing storage.

The field of nanoengineering is highly interdisciplinary, requiring knowledge drawn from a variety of scientific and engineering departments.

1. Introduction

For any query write to us at prem iith. Contact : sajalsagar. A technique to fabricate microstructures inside anisotropically etched cavities in silicon wafer i. A front-to-back alignment method using mask pattern.

Nano and micro-electromechanical systems group

The design and development of MEMS components with reduced stress at the sharp corners using complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor CMOS process compatible silicon wet anisotropic etchants. Metals can also be used to create MEMS elements. While metals do not have some of the advantages displayed by silicon in terms of mechanical properties, when used within their limitations, metals can exhibit very high degrees of reliability.

Metals can be deposited by electroplating, evaporation, and sputtering processes. Commonly used metals include gold , nickel , aluminium , copper , chromium , titanium , tungsten , platinum , and silver. The nitrides of silicon, aluminium and titanium as well as silicon carbide and other ceramics are increasingly applied in MEMS fabrication due to advantageous combinations of material properties. AlN crystallizes in the wurtzite structure and thus shows pyroelectric and piezoelectric properties enabling sensors, for instance, with sensitivity to normal and shear forces.

One of the basic building blocks in MEMS processing is the ability to deposit thin films of material with a thickness anywhere between one micrometre, to about micrometres. The NEMS process is the same, although the measurement of film deposition ranges from a few nanometres to one micrometre. There are two types of deposition processes, as follows.

Physical vapor deposition "PVD" consists of a process in which a material is removed from a target, and deposited on a surface.

Introduction to Materials Science for MEMS and NEMS - Part 1

Techniques to do this include the process of sputtering , in which an ion beam liberates atoms from a target, allowing them to move through the intervening space and deposit on the desired substrate, and evaporation , in which a material is evaporated from a target using either heat thermal evaporation or an electron beam e-beam evaporation in a vacuum system.

Chemical deposition techniques include chemical vapor deposition "CVD" , in which a stream of source gas reacts on the substrate to grow the material desired. Lithography in MEMS context is typically the transfer of a pattern into a photosensitive material by selective exposure to a radiation source such as light.

A photosensitive material is a material that experiences a change in its physical properties when exposed to a radiation source. If a photosensitive material is selectively exposed to radiation e. This exposed region can then be removed or treated providing a mask for the underlying substrate. Photolithography is typically used with metal or other thin film deposition, wet and dry etching. Sometimes, photolithography is used to create structure without any kind of post etching.

One example is SU8 based lens where SU8 based square blocks are generated. Then the photoresist is melted to form a semi-sphere which acts as a lens. Electron beam lithography often abbreviated as e-beam lithography is the practice of scanning a beam of electrons in a patterned fashion across a surface covered with a film called the resist , [13] "exposing" the resist and of selectively removing either exposed or non-exposed regions of the resist "developing".

The purpose, as with photolithography , is to create very small structures in the resist that can subsequently be transferred to the substrate material, often by etching. It was developed for manufacturing integrated circuits , and is also used for creating nanotechnology architectures. The primary advantage of electron beam lithography is that it is one of the ways to beat the diffraction limit of light and make features in the nanometer range. The key limitation of electron beam lithography is throughput, i. A long exposure time leaves the user vulnerable to beam drift or instability which may occur during the exposure.

Also, the turn-around time for reworking or re-design is lengthened unnecessarily if the pattern is not being changed the second time. It is capable of generating holes in thin films without any development process. Structural depth can be defined either by ion range or by material thickness. Aspect ratios up to several 10 4 can be reached.

The technique can shape and texture materials at a defined inclination angle. Random pattern, single-ion track structures and aimed pattern consisting of individual single tracks can be generated. X-ray lithography is a process used in electronic industry to selectively remove parts of a thin film. It uses X-rays to transfer a geometric pattern from a mask to a light-sensitive chemical photoresist, or simply "resist", on the substrate.

A series of chemical treatments then engraves the produced pattern into the material underneath the photoresist.


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  • NANOTECHNOLOGY-MEMS?

A simple way to carve or create patterns on the surface of nanodiamonds without damaging them could lead to a new photonic devices. Diamond patterning is a method of forming diamond MEMS. It is achieved by the lithographic application of diamond films to a substrate such as silicon. The patterns can be formed by selective deposition through a silicon dioxide mask, or by deposition followed by micromachining or focused ion beam milling. There are two basic categories of etching processes: wet etching and dry etching.

In the former, the material is dissolved when immersed in a chemical solution. In the latter, the material is sputtered or dissolved using reactive ions or a vapor phase etchant. Wet chemical etching consists in selective removal of material by dipping a substrate into a solution that dissolves it.


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The chemical nature of this etching process provides a good selectivity, which means the etching rate of the target material is considerably higher than the mask material if selected carefully. Etching progresses at the same speed in all directions. Long and narrow holes in a mask will produce v-shaped grooves in the silicon. The surface of these grooves can be atomically smooth if the etch is carried out correctly, with dimensions and angles being extremely accurate.

Some single crystal materials, such as silicon, will have different etching rates depending on the crystallographic orientation of the substrate. Therefore, etching a rectangular hole in a -Si wafer results in a pyramid shaped etch pit with They were first used in medieval times for glass etching.

It was used in IC fabrication for patterning the gate oxide until the process step was replaced by RIE. Hydrofluoric acid is considered one of the more dangerous acids in the cleanroom. It penetrates the skin upon contact and it diffuses straight to the bone.

What is MEMS Technology?

Therefore, the damage is not felt until it is too late. Electrochemical etching ECE for dopant-selective removal of silicon is a common method to automate and to selectively control etching. An active p-n diode junction is required, and either type of dopant can be the etch-resistant "etch-stop" material.


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Boron is the most common etch-stop dopant. In combination with wet anisotropic etching as described above, ECE has been used successfully for controlling silicon diaphragm thickness in commercial piezoresistive silicon pressure sensors. Selectively doped regions can be created either by implantation, diffusion, or epitaxial deposition of silicon. Its etch selectivity to silicon is very high, allowing it to work with photoresist, SiO 2 , silicon nitride, and various metals for masking. Its reaction to silicon is "plasmaless", is purely chemical and spontaneous and is often operated in pulsed mode.

Models of the etching action are available, [19] and university laboratories and various commercial tools offer solutions using this approach. Modern VLSI processes avoid wet etching, and use plasma etching instead. Plasma etchers can operate in several modes by adjusting the parameters of the plasma.