Vladimir Bliznetsov et al 2015 J. Micromech. Microeng. 25 087002
Silicon oxide-based materials such as quartz and silica are widely used in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). One way to enhance the capability of their deep plasma etching is to increase selectivity by the use of hard masks. Although this approach was studied previously, information on the use of hard masks for the etching of siliconoxide based materials on 200 mm substrates is scarce. We present the results of etching
process development for amorphous silicon oxide using Al and AlN masks with a view of the application of the results for the etching of silica and quartz. Three gas chemistries (C4F8/ O2, CF4 and SF6) and their mixtures were compared in an industrial reactive ion etch (RIE) chamber with two plasma sources. It was established that pure SF6 is the best etchant and AlN is a better mask than Al for providing higher selectivity and a sidewall angle close to vertical. A range of etching parameters for micromasking-free etching was established and etched structures of up to a 4 : 1 aspect ratio were created in 21 μm-thick oxide using the process with an etch rate of 0.32–0.36 μm min−1 and a selectivity to AlN mask of (38–49) : 1.