Microfabrication of palladium-silver alloy membranes for hydrogen separation

D.H. Tong, Johan W. Berenschot, Meint J. de Boer, Johannes G.E. Gardeniers, H. Wensink, Henricus V. Jansen, W. Nijdam, A.J. Nijdam, Michael Curt Elwenspoek, F.C. (Frank) Gielens, C.J.M. van Rijn

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In this paper, a process for the microfabrication of a wafer-scale palladium-silver alloy membrane (Pd-Ag) is presented. Pd-Ag alloy films containing 23 wt% Ag were prepared by co-sputtering from pure Pd and Ag targets. The films were deposited on the unetched side of a <110>-oriented silicon wafer in which deep grooves were etched in a concentrated KOH solution, leaving silicon membranes with a thickness of ca. 50 /spl mu/m. After alloy deposition, the silicon membranes were removed by etching, leaving Pd-Ag membranes. Anodic bonding of thick glass plates (containing powder blasted flow channels) to both sides of the silicon substrate was used to package the membranes and create a robust module. The hydrogen permeability of the Pd-Ag membranes was determined to be typically 0.5 mol H/sub 2//m/sup 2//spl middot/s with a minimal selectivity of 550 for H/sub 2/ with respect to He. The mechanical strength of the membrane was found to be adequate, pressures of up to 4 bars at room temperature did not break the membrane. The results indicate that the membranes are suitable for application in hydrogen purification or in dehydrogenation reactors. The presented fabrication method allows the development of a module for industrial applications that consists of a stack of a large number of glass/membrane plates.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)622-629
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of microelectromechanical systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • co-sputtering membrane module
  • hydrogen separation
  • microfabrication technology
  • palladium–silver (Pd–Ag) membrane
  • METIS-214504
  • IR-46297
  • (110) wafers
  • EWI-11227

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