This paper reports the mechanical design and optimization of tunable Fabry-Perot (FP) filter structures for the development of MEMS adaptive infrared detectors using finite element modeling and experimental investigations. The results indicate that the mechanical characteristics of the FP filters are significantly influenced by the structural designs, which eventually affect the filter performance and device integrity.
Silicon carbide (SiC) single crystals have been used as the substrates of a new generation of wide band-gap
semiconductors due to their unparalleled combination of high breakdown voltage, extreme temperature tolerance,
mobility and radiation hardness. For their applications, the SiC substrates need to be machined with nanometric surface
quality as well as high form accuracy. However, the superior properties of the materials render their machinability
extremely difficult. In this paper, we report the form error and surface roughness of the 6H-SiC (0001) substrate
mechanically polished using 3 μm diamond powders in two different polishing processes. One process was
concentrated-load polishing; the other was surface polishing. The polished surfaces were evaluated using white light
interferometry and atomic force microscopy (AFM) for assessment of two- and three-dimensional topographies
including form error and surface roughness. We found that a large form error was produced on the 6H-SiC (0001)
substrate in the concentrated-load polishing. The root-mean-square (RMS) surface roughness of approximately 4 nm was
resulted. Surface polishing of the 6H-SiC (0001) substrate remarkably improved form accuracy. The RMS surface
roughness of approximately 2.5 nm was obtained.
A low temperature MEMS process integrated with an infrared detector technology has been developed. The integrated microsystem is capable of electrically selecting narrow wavelength bands in the range from 1.6 to 2.5 μm within the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The integrated fabrication process is compatible with two-dimensional infrared focal plane array technology. The demonstration prototypes consist of both HgCdTe SWIR photoconductive as well as high density vertically integrated photodiode (HDVIP®) detectors, two distributed Bragg mirrors formed of Ge-SiO-Ge, an air-gap optical cavity, and a silicon nitride membrane for structural support. The tuning spectrum from fabricated MEMS filters on photoconductive detectors indicates a wide tuning range and high percentage transmission. Tuning is achieved with a voltage of only 7.5 V, and the FWHM ranged from 95-105 nm over a tuning range of 2.2 μm to 1.85 μm. The same MEMS filters, though unreleased, and with the sacrificial layer within the optical cavity, have been fabricated on planarised SWIR HDVIP® photodiodes with FWHM of less than 60 nm centred at a wavelength of approximately 1.8 μm. Finite element modelling of various geometries for the silicon nitride membrane will also be presented. The modelling is used to optimize the filter geometry in terms of fill factor, mirror displacement versus applied voltage, and membrane bowing.
A monolithically integrated low temperature MEMS and HgCdTe infrared detector technology has been implemented and characterised. The MEMS-based optical filter, integrated with an infrared detector, selects narrow wavelength bands in the range from 1.6 to 2.5 μm within the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The entire fabrication process is compatible with two-dimensional infrared focal plane array technology. The fabricated device consists of an HgCdTe SWIR photoconductor, two distributed Bragg mirrors formed of Ge-SiO-Ge, a sacrificial spacer layer within the cavity, which is then removed to leave an air-gap, and a silicon nitride membrane for structural support. The tuning spectrum from fabricated MEMS filters on photoconductive detectors shows a wide tuning range and high percentage transmission is achieved with a tuning voltage of only 7.5 V. The FWHM ranged from 95-105 nm over a tuning range of 2.2 μm to 1.85 μm. Finite element modelling of various geometries for the silicon nitride membrane will also be presented. The modelling is used to determine the best geometry in terms of fill factor, voltage displacement prediction and membrane bowing.
Thin-film MEMS are essential to realization of intelligent integrated microsystems. Of critical importance in such microsystems is the determination and control of mechanical properties in the thin films used for construction of the MEMS, which can be the decisive factor in the realization and subsequent performance, reliability, and long-term stability of the system. In future microsystems the need to fabricate MEMS on temperature sensitive, non-standard substrates will be of particular importance. In this work, mechanical properties of low-temperature (50-300°C) plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposited silicon nitride thin films have been investigated using depth sensing indentation. Young’s modulus, E, and hardness, H, values obtained for the examined film/substrate bilayers were found to vary asymptotically from the thin film properties for shallow indents to the substrate properties for deep indents. A simple empirical formulation is shown to relate E and H obtained for the film/substrate bilayers to corresponding material properties of the constituent materials via a power-law relation. The temperature of the deposition process was found to strongly influence the thin film mechanical properties. Values of E ~ 150-160GPa and H ~ 14-15GPa were observed for depositions above 225°C. Decreasing the deposition temperature initially caused a moderate and linear decrease in E and H parameters, which was followed by an abrupt decrease in E and H once the deposition temperature was lowered below 100°C, such that E ~ 50GPa and H ~ 3.5GPa at a deposition temperature of 50°C.