Fabrication of microstructures in the bulk and on the surface of sapphire by anisotropic selective wet etching of laser-affected volumes

L. Capuano, J.W. Berenschot, R.M. Tiggelaar*, M. Feinaeugle, N.R. Tas, J.G.E. Gardeniers, G.R.B.E. Römer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this paper a processing technique for sapphire is presented which combines laser-induced amorphization and subsequent selective wet etching of amorphized sapphire as well as anisotropic wet etching of single-crystalline sapphire (α-Al2O3). Using this technique, microstructures can be realized on the surface and in the bulk of sapphire substrates. By focusing ultra-short laser pulses inside sapphire, its structure can be transformed from crystalline into amorphous. The modified material can be selectively removed using etchants, such as hydrofluoric acid or potassium hydroxide (KOH), solely dissolving the amorphized part. In this work, however, an etchant consisting of a standard solution of sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid (96 vol% H2SO4: 85 vol% H3PO4, 3:1 vol%) at 180 °C is utilized. This method allows the realization of structures which are impossible to achieve when using conventional etchants which solely dissolve the amorphized sapphire. Ultrashort pulsed laser irradiation (230 fs) is used in this study as starting point for the subsequent anisotropic etching to form microstructures on the surface or in the bulk of sapphire that are terminated by characteristic crystal planes. In particular, the appearance of etching-induced patterns formed by stacks of rhombohedra is shown for structures below the surface, whereas triangular pits are achieved in surface processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125003
JournalJournal of micromechanics and microengineering
Volume32
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Anisotropic etching
  • Femtosecond laser
  • Sapphire
  • Selective etching
  • Transparent materials
  • UT-Hybrid-D

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