Acquisition of Instrumentation for Deep Reactive Ion Etching of Ultra-Thin Bonded Wafers

Project: Research project

Project Details




Recently, researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology pioneered a key technology for future micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) research and development, in which ultra-thin single crystal silicon membranes (up to 4' in diameter and as thin as 2 micrometers) may be bonded to a variety of substrates. This technology will open up a new class of device possibilities that require single-crystal silicon rather than the polycrystalline layers deposited by non-bonding methods. However, extension of this technology to practical MEMS applications requires rapid, deep etching of localized areas through the bonded wafers to the underlying layers to create free standing structures. In order to fill this need, a Deep Reactive Ion Etching (DRIE) system will be acquired with funding from the Major Research Instrumentation program. DRIE is a state-of-the-art process that is capable of extremely high silicon removal rates, high selectivity to masking materials, and precise etch profile control. The DRIE system will complement the unique wafer bonding capabilities of NJIT and enable a wide array of research activities across several disciplines. The goals of this facility are 1) to provide access to advanced state-of-the-art process methods and equipment to perform complex design, modeling, simulation, process characterization and prototype development, and 2) to generate synergy between industry and NJIT students, faculty and staff, leading to joint research opportunities and efficient technology transfer. With over 40 graduate and undergraduate students across a range of disciplines using the cleanroom facility each year, the DRIE, as a centerpiece tool of the facility, is expected to have a significant impact on their research, advanced training and contacts with industry. NJIT heads the state's micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) research and development effort through the state-supported New Jersey MEMS center in collaboration with Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and a number of industrial partners, including Lucent Technologies, Kearfott Guidance Systems, and others.


The combination of the deep reactive ion etching system, acquired using Major Research Instrumentation funding, and the ultra-thin wafer bonding capability will push NJIT to the forefront of MEMS research and development. The DRIE instrumentation would form the cornerstone of NJIT's MEMS effort, and, by extension through our industrial partners, would lead to the further development of this emerging technology in the state of New Jersey and beyond. It would enable the integration of microelectronic devices with a wide array of MEMS research, including sensors and actuators, microfluidics, biomechanics and optics, providing a unified research effort across at least six undergraduate and graduate degree areas in both engineering and arts and sciences, including physics, electrical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and manufacturing.


Effective start/end date9/1/988/31/02


  • National Science Foundation: $467,380.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.