High-aspect-ratio, ultrathick, negative-tone near-UV photoresist and its applications for MEMS
Detailed investigations of the limits of a new negative-tone near-UV resist (IBM SU-8) have been performed. SU-8 is an epoxy-based resist designed specifically for ultrathick, high-aspect-ratio MEMS-type applications. We have demonstrated that with single-layer coatings, thicknesses of more than 500 km can be achieved reproducibly. Thicker resist layers can be made by applying multiple coatings, and we have achieved exposures in 1200 IJ-m thick, double-coated SU-8 resist layers. We have found that the aspect ratio for near-UV (400 nm) exposed and developed structures can be greater than 18 and remains constant in the thickness range between 80 and 1200 IJ-m. Vertical sidewall profiles result in good dimensional control over the entire resist thickness. To our knowledge, this is the highest aspect ratio reported for near-UV exposures and the given range of resist thicknesses. These results will open up new possibilities for low-cost LIGA-type processes for MEMS applications. The application potential of SU-8 is demonstrated by several examples of devices and structures fabricated by electroplating and photoplastic techniques. The latter is especially interesting as SU-8 has attractive mechanical properties.