INL installs LPX Pegasus ASE, a Deep Silicon Etch (DRIE) with a broad range of challenging applications

May 25, 2011

Advanced Silicon Etch (ASE) is a deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) technique used to rapidly etch deep and high aspect ratio structures in silicon.

LPX Pegasus is the continuation of STS’ Advanced Silicon Etch (ASE) technology. Through an in-depth understanding of the Bosch process and with the required hardware, Pegasus is able to provide excellent profile control and selectivity. The increased etch rate and improved uniformity lead to higher throughput and device yield, resulting in increased productivity.

This inductively de-coupled plasma (IDP) system uses fluorine-based gases for anisotropic deep silicon trench etching. The 13.56 MHz RF power supply produces high-density, low-pressure, low-energy plasma. This type of plasma allows high selectivity and aspect ratio etching for depths greater than 150 microns and has an expected etch rate better than 15 microns/ min. Used primarily for MEMs devices, the typical materials used in this etcher are silicon wafers covered with photoresist and thin films of silicon dioxide and silicon nitride.

The performance improvements that Pegasus brings have numerous benefits for research as well as for end-users.

At the moment, the tool is being installed in the INL’s facilities and it is expected that the final validation process will take place the first half of May; consequentially, it will be available for both researchers and companies interested in utilizing the technology.

This capability will help us be at the forefront of research in nanotechnology, continue developing new and innovative microdevices for a broad range of challenging applications and research projects.