A New Experimental Approach to Evaluate Plasma-induced Damage in Microcantilever

Yuki Nishimori • Shinji Ueki • Masakazu Sugiyama • Seiji Samukawa • Gen Hashiguchi
Journal article Makara Journal of Technology • August 2013


Plasma  etching,  during  micro-fabrication  processing  is  indispensable  for  fabricating  MEMS  structures.  During  the plasma  processes,  two  major matters,  charged  ions  and  vacuum–ultraviolet  (VUV)  irradiation  damage,  take  charge  of reliability  degradation.  The  charged  ions  induce  unwanted  sidewall  etching,  generally  called  as  “notching”,  which causes  degradation  in  brittle  strength.  Furthermore,  the  VUV  irradiation  gives  rise  to  crystal  defects  on  the  etching surface.  To  overcome  the  problem,  neutral  beam  etching  (NBE),  which  use  neutral  particles  without  the  VUV irradiation,  has  been  developed.  In  order  to  evaluate  the  effect  of  the  NBE  quantitatively,  we  measured  the  resonance property of a micro-cantilever before and after NBE treatment. The thickness of damage layer (δ) times the imaginary part  of  the  complex  Young's  modulus  (Eds)  were  then  compared,  which  is  a  parameter  of  surface  damage.  Although plasma processes  make the initial surface of cantilevers damaged during their fabrication, the removal of that damage by NBE was confirmed as the reduction in δEds. NBE will realize a damage-free surface for microstructures.




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