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12 February 2007Development of amorphous SiC for MEMS-based microbridges
This paper reports our effort to develop amorphous hydrogenated silicon carbide (a-SiC:H) films specifically designed
for MEMS-based microbridges using methane and silane as the precursor gases. In our work, the a-SiC:H films were
deposited in a simple, commercial PECVD system at a fixed temperature of 300°C. Films with thicknesses from 100 nm
to 1000 nm, a typical range for many MEMS applications, were deposited. Deposition parameters such as deposition
pressure and methane-to-silane ratio were varied in order to obtain films with suitable residual stresses. Average residual
stress in the as-deposited films selected for device fabrication was found by wafer curvature measurements to be -658 ±
22 MPa, which could be converted to 177 ± 40 MPa after thermal annealing at 450°C, making them suitable for
micromachined bridges, membranes and other anchored structures. Bulk micromachined membranes were constructed to
determine the Young's modulus of the annealed films, which was found to be 205 ± 6 GPa. Chemical inertness was
tested in aggressive solutions such as KOH and HF. Prototype microbridge actuators were fabricated using a simple
surface micromachining process to assess the potential of the a-SiC:H films as structural layers for MEMS applications.
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James B. Summers, Maximilian Scardelletti, Rocco Parro, Christian A. Zorman, "Development of amorphous SiC for MEMS-based microbridges," Proc. SPIE 6464, MEMS/MOEMS Components and Their Applications IV, 64640H (12 February 2007); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.704705