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PostCMOS compatible sacrificial layers for aluminum nitride microcantilevers

: Pérez-Campos, A.; Iriarte, G.F.; Lebedev, V.; Calle, F.


Journal of micro/nanolithography, MEMS and MOEMS 13 (2014), Nr.4, Art. 043012, 8 S.
ISSN: 1537-1646
ISSN: 1932-5150
ISSN: 1932-5134
Fraunhofer IAF ()

This report shows different fabrication procedures followed to obtain piezoelectric microcantilevers. The proposed microcantilever is a sandwich structure composed of chromium (Cr) electrodes (from 50 to 300-nm thick) and a reactive sputtered piezoelectric aluminum nitride (AlN) thin film (from 350 nm to 600-nm thick). The microcantilevers top-view dimensions ranged from 50 to 300 µm in width and from to 250 to 700 µm in length. Severalmaterials such as nickel silicide and nickel, as well as a photoresist, and finally the silicon substrate surface have been investigated to discern their possibilities and limitations when used as sacrificial layers. These materials have been studied to determine the optimal processing steps and chemistries required for each of them. The easiest and the only successful microcantilevers release was finally obtained using the top silicon substrate surface as a sacrificial layer. The structural and morphological characteristics of the microcantilevers are presented as well as their piezoelectric character. The main difference of this work resides in the Si surface-based microcantilever release technique. This, along with the synthesis of AlN at room temperature by reactive sputtering, establishes a manufacturing procedure for piezoelectric microbeams, which makes possible the integration of such MEMS devices into postCMOS technology.