Simulation of anisotropic wet-chemical etching using a physical model

J. van Suchtelen, K. Sato, E. van Veenendaal, A.J. Nijdam, Johannes G.E. Gardeniers, W.J.P. van Enckevort, Michael Curt Elwenspoek

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We present a method to describe the orientation dependence of the etch rate of silicon, or any other single crystalline material, in anisotropic etching solutions by analytical functions. The parameters in these functions have a simple physical meaning. Crystals have a small number of atomically smooth faces, which etch (and grow) slowly as a consequence of the removal (or addition) of atoms by rows and layers. However, smooth faces have a roughening transition (well known in statistical physics); at increasing temperature they become rougher, and accordingly the etch and growth rates increase. Consequently, the basic physical parameters of our functions are the roughness of the smooth faces and the velocity of steps on these faces. This small set of parameters describes the etch rate in the two-dimensional space of orientations (on the unit sphere). We have applied our method to the practical case of etch rate functions for silicon crystals in KOH solutions. The maximum deviation between experimental data and simulation using only nine physically meaningful parameters is less than 5% of the maximum etch rate. This method, which in this study is used to describe anisotropic etching of silicon, can easily be adjusted to describe the growth or etching process of any crystal.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IEEE Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
Place of PublicationPiscataway
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0-7803-5194-0
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 1999
Event12th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, MEMS 1999 - Orlando, United States
Duration: 17 Jan 199921 Jan 1999
Conference number: 12


Conference12th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, MEMS 1999
Abbreviated titleMEMS
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • EWI-13205
  • IR-15821
  • METIS-112703

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