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Special Issue, October 2007, pp. 111-123




Fabrication of a Real Time Reactive Ion Etching Resonant Sensor Using

a Low Temperature Sacrificial Polymer


Bryan G. MORRIS, Paul J. JOSEPH and *Gary S. MAY

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA

*Tel.: (404) 894-2902, fax: (404) 894-4641

E-mail: gary.may@ece.gatech.edu



Received: 17 September 2007   /Accepted: 19 September 2007   /Published: 8 October 2007


Abstract: This paper presents a sacrificial layer process using a low temperature polymer as the sacrificial material for fabricating a surface micromachined reactive ion etching (RIE) resonant sensor. The sensor monitors film thickness and etch rate in the RIE process and will ultimately facilitate closed-loop control. This RIE monitoring methodology exploits the accuracy of resonant micromechanical structures, whereby shifts in the fundamental resonant frequency measure a physical parameter. A majority of these systems require free-standing mechanical movement and utilize a sacrificial layer process as the key technique to develop and release the structure on a substrate. The low temperature sacrificial layer process released the suspended sensor with excellent performance and is capable of fabricating other low cost, high performance and reliable suspended MEMS devices.


Keywords: Resonant sensor, Sacrificial layer process, Reactive ion etching (RIE), In-situ monitoring, Endpoint detection


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