Selective Buried Etch Stop (SES) Silicon Device Fabrication Process (GSC-13962)

A NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) development team has achieved breakthroughs in bulk silicon micromachining of microelectromechanical (MEMS)-based sub millimeter and far infrared (IR) radiation detectors. The IR detectors are ultra-thin, three-dimensional (3D) structures made possible by the SES process and represent novel, high-performance, one-of-a-kind MEMS devices. The SES process provides for selectively patterning chemical etch barriers deep within composite silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers. The deep buried etch stops implanted using the SES process greatly aid the fabrication of 3D and subsurface MEMS structures within composite SOI wafers. The patterned 3D and subsurface structures are later revealed when the composite wafer is anisotropic ally etched from the backside. The technology opens up new possibilities for creating structures in three dimensions using MEMS fabrication techniques for SOI wafers. NASA recognizes the significant potential for applying these techniques to commercial products. While the GSFC SES process has been employed specifically for the fabrication of submillimeter and far IR radiation measurement arrays, other new MEMS device designs are made possible by the technology, such as: 3D MEMS devices, smaller, cheaper, high-performance radiation detectors, composite SOI wafer MEMS fabrication.

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