Over the last 5 years, deep dry etching of silicon has developed into a mainstream microsystems process technology. To transition from R&D into production, some of the main issues to address are the CoO (cost of ownership), reliability and reproducibility of capital equipment. Commensurate with this, it is essential to achieve high etch rates with good profile control. MICROSPECT (Microsystems Production Evaluated Cluster Tool), a project within the EC SEA programme, has sought to address these issues. The project has evaluated and significantly enhanced the performance of STS ASE modules for deep dry etching on an ASPECTHR production cluster platform.
The development phase of the project has provided an ideal opportunity for the equipment supplier to test and respond to feedback on the tool and the latest hardware and software developments with multiple end users, including a new high density inductively coupled plasma (ICP) source. This has resulted in higher etch rates for greater throughput and improved profile control across a variety of applications, including silicon-on-insulator (SOI)-based MEMS and microfluidics. During the evaluation phase, the system was operated under close-to-production conditions to establish system reliability and metrics.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.