Nguyen, T.K., Phan, H.P., Dowling, K.M., Yalamarthy, A.S., Dinh, T., Balakrishnan, V., Liu, T.Y., Chapin, C.A., Truong, Q.D., Dau, V.T., Goodson, K.E., Senesky, D.G., Dao, D.V., Nguyen, N.T., 2020, “Lithography and Etching-Free Microfabrication of Silicon Carbide on Insulator Using Direct UV Laser Ablation,” Advanced Engineering Materials, Vol. 22, 1901173.

Abstract

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Silicon carbide (SiC)-based microsystems are promising alternatives for silicon-based counterparts in a wide range of applications aiming at conditions of high temperature, high corrosion, and extreme vibration/shock. However, its high resistance to chemical substances makes the fabrication of SiC particularly challenging and less cost-effective. To date, most SiC micromachining processes require time-consuming and high-cost SiC dry-etching steps followed by metal wet etching, which slows down the prototyping and characterization process of SiC devices. This work presents a lithography and etching-free microfabrication for 3C-SiC on insulator-based microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices. In particular, a direct laser ablation technique to replace the conventional lithography and etching processes to form functional SiC devices from 3C-SiC-on-glass wafers is used. Utilizing a single line-cutting mode, both metal contact shapes and SiC microstructures can be patterned simultaneously with a remarkably fast speed of over 20 cm s(-1). As a proof of concept, several SiC microdevices, including temperature sensors, strain sensors, and microheaters, are demonstrated, showing the potential of the proposed technique for rapid and reliable prototyping of SiC-based MEMS.