Journal article

Top-Down Technique for Scaling toNnano in Silicon MEMS

Nanoscale building blocks impart added functionalities to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The integration of silicon nanowires with MEMS-based sensors leading to miniaturization with improved sensitivity and higher noise immunity is one example highlighting the advantages of this multiscale approach. The accelerated pace of research in this area gives rise to an urgent need for batch-compatible solutions for scaling to nano. To address this challenge, a monolithic fabrication approach of silicon nanowires with 10-mu m-thick silicon-on-insulator (SOI) MEMS is developed in this work. A two-step Si etching approach is adopted, where the first step creates a shallow surface protrusion and the second step releases it in the form of a nanowire. It is during this second deep etching step that MEMS-with at least a 2-order-of-magnitude scale difference-is formed as well. The technique provides a pathway for preserving the lithographic resolution and transforming it into a very high mechanical precision in the assembly of micro-and nanoscales with an extreme topography. Validation of the success of integration is carried out via in situ actuation of MEMS inside an electron microscope loading the nanowire up to its fracture. The technique yields nanowires on the top surface of MEMS, thereby providing ease of access for the purposes of carrying out surface processes such as doping and contact formation as well as in situ observation. As the first study demonstrating such monolithic integration in thick SOI, the work presents a pathway for scaling down to nano for future MEMS combining multiple scales. (C) 2017 American Vacuum Society.


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