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Explain DRIE in detail. (Deep Reactive Ion Etching)
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Working principle:

  • The DRIE process provides thin films of a few microns protective coatings on the sidewalls during the etching process.
  • It involves the use of a high – density plasma source.
  • The process allows alternating process of plasma (ion) etching of the substrate material and the deposition of etching-protective material on the sidewalls.
  • Special polymers are frequently used for side wall protective films.

What DRIE can do:

  • The DRIE process has produced MEMS structures with A/P** = 30 with virtually vertical walls of θ = ±20 for several years.
  • Recent developments have used better sidewall protecting materials. For example, silicon substrates with A/P over 100 was achieved with θ = ±20 at a depth of up to 300 µm. The etching rate, however was reduced to 2-3 µm/min.
  • A/P = Aspect ratio = the dimension in vertical to horizontal directions.

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