MRI: High Aspect Ratio Etching System for Micro and Nanoscale Sensor and Sensor Systems Applications

Project: Research project

Project Details


This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award provides funding for an inductively coupled plasma etching system consisting of three process modules: (i) advanced silicon etch module for high etch-rate, high aspect ratio etching of silicon; (ii) oxide etch module for high aspect ratio etching of quartz, silicon dioxide, and other ceramic materials; and (iii) a xenon difluoride vapor phase etching module for isotropic chemical etching of silicon with high selectivity. The instrument will be used by more than 25 research groups in 10 academic departments at Penn State University to conduct research in the areas of microfluidics, biochemical sensors, high-speed switches and nanoscale resonators for radio frequency applications, integration of high-performance piezoelectric and polymeric thin films into silicon microsystems and investigation into fundamental quantum mechanical effects at the nanoscale. It will also be used to develop undergraduate and graduate level laboratory courses in microfabrication techniques as part of a course curriculum in micro and nanosystems technology.

The proposed tool configuration will allow researchers at Penn State to develop novel sensors, actuators, and electronic systems for applications ranging from biomedical technology to homeland security. In addition to fostering interdisciplinary research, the tool will provide hands-on fabrication experience to students and will be instrumental in the creation of a workforce skilled in the areas of micro and nanoscale science and technology. The advanced etching capability with the uniquely developed etching processes will attract new research collaborations with industry and national laboratories to Penn State University. The etch tool will also impact the nano-camp and chip-camp programs currently offered for K-12 students on nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Effective start/end date8/15/037/31/04


  • National Science Foundation: $371,000.00


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