(19)
(11)EP 1 770 056 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
11.11.2015 Bulletin 2015/46

(21)Application number: 06076692.0

(22)Date of filing:  07.09.2006
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B81B 3/00(2006.01)
B81C 1/00(2006.01)

(54)

Method for manufacturing a micro-electro-mechanical structure

Verfahren zum Herstellen einer mikroelectromechanischen Struktur

Procédé pour réaliser une structure microélectromécanique


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 29.09.2005 US 239259

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.04.2007 Bulletin 2007/14

(73)Proprietor: Delphi Technologies, Inc.
Troy, MI 48007 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • Chilcott, Dan W.
    Greentown, IN 46936 (US)

(74)Representative: Boult Wade Tennant 
Verulam Gardens 70 Gray's Inn Road
London WC1X 8BT
London WC1X 8BT (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A- 1 281 664
US-A1- 2004 207 074
US-A1- 2003 176 006
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Technical Field



    [0001] The present invention is generally directed to a micro-electro-mechanical (MEM) structure and, more specifically, to a method for manufacturing a MEM structure.

    Background of the Invention



    [0002] Various micro-electro-mechanical (MEM) devices, also known as micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) devices, require the formation of a moving structure, e.g., a silicon structure. These structures have been formed using various techniques, including single crystal silicon and thin film surface micromachining. In general, surface micromachining requires the selective removal of a sacrificial film, to allow the MEM structure to move. In other MEM devices, a deep reactive ion etch (DRIE) has been utilized to form silicon structures, by etching through a silicon layer and stopping on a sacrificial oxide layer that is subsequently removed. In general, this process results in a high-aspect ratio silicon structure with relatively low stress. However, the process requires expensive silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers or non-standard thick polysilicon processes.

    [0003] In some conventional approaches, utilizing a DRIE on an SOI wafer has resulted in an artifact at the oxide-silicon interface, due to charging of the oxide. This artifact (or footer) is generally undesirable. Designers have spent considerable effort to eliminate the footers that result from conventional processes.

    [0004] What is needed is a technique for manufacturing a micro-electro-mechanical (MEM) structure that eliminates the need for the utilization of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers or thick polysilicon wafers for forming single crystal silicon structures in a MEM device.

    [0005] US-A-2003/176006 discloses a method in accordance with the preamble of claim 1. US-A-2004/207074 also discloses a method similar to the preamble of claim 1.

    Summary of the Invention



    [0006] The present invention is generally directed to a technique for manufacturing a micro-electro-mechanical (MEM) structure that includes a number of steps. Initially, a substrate is provided. Next, a plurality of trenches are etched into the substrate with a first etch. Then, a charging layer is formed at a bottom of each of the trenches to form undercut trenches. Finally, a second etch is provided into the undercut trenches. The charging layer causes the second etch to laterally etch footers in the substrate between the undercut trenches. The footers undercut the substrate to release a portion of the substrate for providing a moveable structure between the undercut trenches and above the footers.

    [0007] According to one aspect of the present invention, the charging layer may be, for example, an oxide layer. According to this aspect of the present invention, the oxide layer may be formed at the bottom of each of the trenches through a directional oxide deposition, e.g., quartz sputtering. According to yet another aspect of present invention, the oxide layer may also be formed at the bottom of each of the trenches through a selective oxidation process. According to another aspect of the present invention, the first and second etches are deep reactive ion etches (DRIE).

    [0008] According to a different aspect of the present invention, the process may also include the additional steps of etching at least one isolation trench in the substrate and filling the at least one isolation trench with a dielectric to electrically isolate the moveable structure. According to yet another aspect of the present invention, the substrate is made of a silicon. According to a different aspect of the present invention, an edge definition trench is etched into the substrate to define edges of the moveable structure.

    [0009] These and other features, advantages and objects of the present invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following specification, claims and appended drawings.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0010] The present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of relevant portions of a micro-electro-mechanical (MEM) device, made from a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer, during processing according to the prior art;

    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a MEM device, made from a single substrate, during processing according to the present invention;

    FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of another MEM device, made from a single substrate, during processing;

    FIG. 4 is a top view of another MEM device, made from a single substrate, detailing the various components of the MEM device; and

    FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a process for manufacturing a MEM structure, according to one embodiment of the present invention.


    Description of the Preferred Embodiments



    [0011] According to one aspect of the present invention, a charging layer, e.g., an oxide layer, is selectively provided at a bottom of each of a plurality of undercut trenches or holes. A deep reactive ion etch (DRIE) is then performed. During the DRIE etch, the oxide at the bottom of the undercut trenches causes the silicon directly above the oxide to laterally etch until adjacent footers of nearby trenches connect. In this manner, a moveable structure between the undercut trenches (and above the footers) is released. The charging layer may be made from a variety of different semiconductor films, including an oxide. One method for providing an oxide at the bottom of the undercut trenches is to use a directional oxide deposition, e.g., quartz sputtering. Another technique for providing oxide at the bottom of the undercut trenches is to use a planarization film , e.g., spin-on-glass (SOG). It should be appreciated that any directional deposition method and/or selective oxidation method may be utilized, according to the present invention.

    [0012] The present invention provides a MEM device that is also compatible with complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (COMS) processing, which allows the formation of integrated sensors, using single crystal silicon moving structures. Electrical isolation of the moving structures can be achieved with trenches filled with a dielectric or other known isolating techniques that are utilized, for example, with silicon-on insulator (SOI) wafers.

    [0013] FIG. 1 depicts cross-sectional views of relevant portions of an SOI wafer during relevant prior art processing steps. As is shown in FIG. 1, a handle wafer 102 is bonded to an active wafer 106 with a bonding layer 104, e.g., an oxide layer. As is shown, a DRIE has been utilized to form trenches 108 through the active wafer 106. As is shown, the trenches 108 exhibit undercutting 110, i.e., footers, that are a result of ion deflection from the bonding (or charging) layer 104. A portion of the layer 104 that is exposed by the DRIE is then removed freeing moveable structure 106A, which is isolated from circuitry formed on a non-moveable portion of the wafer 106, via an isolation trench 112 filled with a dielectric 114. As previously noted, the footer 110 formation is due to charge-induced ion deflection at the oxide layer.

    [0014] With reference to FIG. 2, relevant portions of a micro-electro-mechanical (MEM) structure are depicted during processing according to the present invention. As is shown in FIG. 2, a substrate 202 has had formed therein a plurality of undercut trenches 208. Deposited at the bottom of the undercut trenches 208 is a charging layer 204, e.g., an oxide layer. A moveable structure 202A is released by performing a deep reactive ion etch (DRIE), which is a result of the oxide layer 204 creating footers, to combine nearby trenches. As is shown in FIG. 2, an isolation trench 212 is filled with a dielectric 214, to provide electrical isolation for the moveable structure 202A. As noted above, the lateral undercutting occurs during the DRIE when the impinging ions are deflected by charge on the layer 204.

    [0015] With reference to FIG. 3, relevant portions of another MEM structure are depicted during processing by way of example. As is shown, a substrate 302 includes an etch mask layer 304 that provides a mask for a DRIE. An anchor trench 316 is filled with a dielectric 314, to provide an isolated anchor post. Similarly, an isolation trench 312 is filled with the dielectric 314 to isolate a moveable structure 302A to be formed. The undercut formed by lateral etching isolates structure 302A by removing silicon to etch up to isolation trench 312 and anchor trench 316. As is depicted, the moveable structure 302A is undercut and released from the substrate 302 by the DRIE.

    [0016] With reference to FIG. 4, a top view of an example of a MEM sensor 400 is depicted. As is shown in FIG. 4, the sensor 400 includes a substrate 402, which has formed therein a plurality of undercut trenches 404 and a definition trench 406. The definition trench 406 defines edges of a moveable structure 410. Dielectric filled isolation trenches 412A and 412B electrically isolate the moveable structure 410. Isolation trench 412B acts as an anchor to structure 410. As is discussed, in conjunction with FIG. 3, the undercut trenches 404 allow for the freeing of the moveable structure 410 during the DRIE. A fixed sensing area 414 works in conjunction with the moveable structure 410 to provide a capacitive sensor.

    [0017] In general, capacitive MEM devices must be isolated from the substrate of the sensor. One option is to cantilever the moveable structure off the isolation trenches. Another option is to use vertical anchors in isolation trenches. In order to keep from undercutting the isolation regions 312 and 316 as seen in FIG. 3, it is desirable for the isolation regions to be deeper than the undercut trenches. Alternatively, or in addition, small holes may be utilized, which cause the DRIE to etch more shallow around the anchor regions of the device.

    [0018] It should also be appreciated that the charging layer deposited at the bottom of each of the undercut trenches may take a number of forms. As the reason for the creation of the footing is the ion redirection, due to bias, ion redirection may also be achieved by biasing a doped region in the silicon. For example, a clamp ring bias may be utilized in a DRIE process to achieve ion deflection. An alternative way to achieve ion deflection would be to bias the back of the wafer using a doped region and another type on top of the wafer to be initially trenched before footing occurs. Bias may also be turned on and off to change the direction of the etch during the etching process.

    [0019] With reference to FIG. 5, a flowchart for MEM structure manufacturing process 500, according to one embodiment of the present invention, is depicted. In step 502, a substrate, e.g., a silicon wafer, is provided. Next, in step 504, isolation trenches are etched in the substrate. Then, in step 506, the isolation trenches are filled with a dielectric. Next, in step 508, trenches are etched into the substrate. By utilizing etch features of differing cross section areas, differing multiple etch depths can be formed. Shallower trenches can easily be formed next to isolation trenches, and deeper trenches can be formed elsewhere.

    [0020] According to one embodiment, in step 510, a charging layer, e.g., an oxide layer, is formed at the bottom of the trenches to form undercut trenches. As previously discussed, the charging layer deflects ions during the DRIE and causes footers to be created above the oxide layer into the silicon, thus, undercutting the silicon to the point that the undercut trenches are connected. Finally, in step 512, a DRIE etchant is provided into the trenches to laterally etch the footers between the trenches.

    [0021] Accordingly, a process has been described herein for manufacturing a micro-electro-mechanical (MEM) structure that eliminates the need for the utilization of silicon-on-insulation (SOI) wafers or thick polysilicon wafers for forming single crystal silicon structures in a MEM device.

    [0022] The above description is considered that of the preferred embodiments only. Modifications of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art and to those who make or use the invention.


    Claims

    1. A method (500) for manufacturing a micro-electro-mechanical (MEM) structure, comprising the steps of:

    providing a substrate (502);

    etching a plurality of trenches into the substrate with a first etch (508); and

    providing a second etch into the trenches to form undercut trenches;

    characterized by forming a charging layer at a bottom of each of the trenches (510) prior to providing the second etch, wherein the charging layer causes the second etch to laterally etch footers in the substrate between the undercut trenches (512), and wherein the footers undercut the substrate to release a portion of the substrate for providing a moveable structure between the undercut trenches and above the footers.


     
    2. The method (500) of claim 1, wherein the charging layer is an oxide layer.
     
    3. The method (500) of claim 2, wherein the oxide layer is formed at the bottom of each of the trenches through a directional oxide deposition.
     
    4. The method (500) of claim 3, wherein the directional oxide deposition is a quartz sputtering deposition.
     
    5. The method (500) of claim 2, wherein the oxide layer is formed at the bottom of each of the trenches through a selective oxidation process.
     
    6. The method (500) of claim 1, wherein the first and second etches are deep reactive ion etches (DRIE).
     
    7. The method (500) of claim 1 further comprising the steps of:

    etching at least one isolation trench in the substrate (504); and

    filling the at least one isolation trench with a dielectric (506), wherein the at least one isolation trench electrically isolates the moveable structure.


     
    8. The method (500) of claim 1, wherein the substrate is made of silicon.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren (500) zur Herstellung einer mikroelektromechanischen (MEM) Struktur, das die folgenden Schritte aufweist:

    Bereitstellen eines Substrats (502);

    Ätzen einer Mehrzahl von Gräben in das Substrat mit einem ersten Ätzmittel (508); und

    Bereitstellen eines zweiten Ätzmittels in die Gräben zur Bildung von Unterätzungsgräben;

    gekennzeichnet durch Bilden einer Aufladungsschicht an einem untersten Teil eines jeden Grabens der Gräben (510) vor dem Bereitstellen des zweiten Ätzmittels, wobei die Aufladungsschicht verursacht, dass das zweite Ätzmittel seitlich Artefakte in das Substrat zwischen die Unterätzungsgräben (512) ätzt, und wobei die Artefakte das Substrat unterätzen, um einen Teil des Substrats zur Bereitstellung einer beweglichen Struktur zwischen den Unterätzungsgräben und über den Artefakten freizugeben.


     
    2. Verfahren (500) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Aufladungsschicht eine Oxidschicht ist.
     
    3. Verfahren (500) nach Anspruch 2, wobei die Oxidschicht an dem untersten Teil eines jeden Grabens der Gräben durch eine gerichtete Oxidabscheidung gebildet wird.
     
    4. Verfahren (500) nach Anspruch 3, wobei die gerichtete Oxidabscheidung eine Quartz-Sputterabscheidung ist.
     
    5. Verfahren (500) nach Anspruch 2, wobei die Oxidschicht an dem untersten Teil eines jeden Grabens der Gräben durch ein selektives Oxidationsverfahren gebildet wird.
     
    6. Verfahren (500) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die erste und die zweite Ätzung reaktive Ionenätzungen mit hohem Aspektverhältnis (DRIE) sind.
     
    7. Verfahren (500) nach Anspruch 1, das ferner die folgenden Schritte aufweist:

    Ätzen von wenigstens einem Isolationsgraben in dem Substrat (504); und

    Auffüllen des wenigstens einen Isolationsgrabens mit einem Dielektrikum (506), wobei der wenigstens eine Isolationsgraben die bewegliche Struktur elektrisch isoliert.


     
    8. Verfahren (500) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Substrat aus Silizium hergestellt ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé (500) de fabrication d'une structure micro-éléctro-mécanique (MEM), comprenant les étapes de :

    réaliser un substrat (502) ;

    former par attaque des rainures dans le substrat avec une première attaque (508), et

    réaliser une deuxième attache dans les rainures pour former des rainures contre-dépouillées ;

    caractérisé en formant une couche de charge à un fond de chacune des rainures (510) avant de réaliser la deuxième attaque, où la couche de charge amène la deuxième attaque à attaquer latéralement des pieds dans le substrat entre les rainures contre-dépouillées (512), et où les pieds contre-dépouillent le substrat dans le but de dégager une portion du substrat afin de réaliser une structure mobile entre les rainures contre-dépouillées et au-dessus des pieds.


     
    2. Procédé (500) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la couche de charge est une couche d'oxyde.
     
    3. Procédé (500) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel la couche d'oxyde est formée au fond de chacune des rainures par un dépôt d'oxyde directionnel.
     
    4. Procédé (500) selon la revendication 3, dans lequel le dépôt d'oxyde directionnel est un dépôt par pulvérisation de quartz.
     
    5. Procédé (500) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel la couche d'oxyde est formée au fond de chacune des rainures par un processus d'oxydation sélectif.
     
    6. Procédé (500) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les première et deuxième attaques sont des attaques profondes par des ions réactifs (DRIE).
     
    7. Procédé (500) selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre les étapes de :

    attaquer au moins une tranchée d'isolation dans le substrat (504) ; et

    remplir ladite au moins une tranchée d'isolation avec un diélectrique (506), où ladite au moins une tranchée d'isolation isole électriquement la structure mobile.


     
    8. Procédé (500) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le substrat est réalisé en silicium.
     




    Drawing














    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description