Materials, design and processing of air encapsulated MEMS packaging
Fritz, Nathan Tyler
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Air-gap structures are of particular interest for packaging of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). In this work, an overcoat material is used to cover a sacrificial polymer, which protects the MEMS device during packaging. Once the overcoat is in place, the sacrificial polymer is thermally decomposed freeing the MEMS structure while the overcoat dielectric provides mechanical protection from the environment. An epoxy POSS dielectric was used as a high-selectivity etch mask for the PPC and a rigid overcoat for the structure leading to the process improvements. The packaging structures can be designed for a range of MEMS device sizes and operating environments. However, the air-cavity structures need additional rigidity to withstand chip-level packaging conditions. Metalized air cavity packages were molded under traditional lead frame molding pressures and tested for mechanical integrity. The experimental molding tests and mechanical models were used to establish processing conditions and physical designs for the cavities as a function of cavity size. A semi-hermetic package was created using an in-situ sacrificial decomposition/epoxy cure molding step for creating large cavity chip packages. Through the optimization of the air cavity, new materials and processes were tested for general microfabrication. The epoxy POSS dielectric provides a resilient, strong inorganic/organic hybrid dielectric for use in microfabrication and packaging applications. Polycarbonates can be used for low cost temporary adhesives in wafer-wafer bonding. An improved electroless deposition process for silver and copper was developed. The Sn/Pd activation was replaced by a cost efficient Sn/Ag catalyst. The process was shown to be able to deposit adherent copper on smooth POSS and silicon dioxide surfaces. Electroless copper was demonstrated on untreated silicon oxide wafers for TSV sidewall deposition.