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23 February 2009 Vapor phase release of silicon nanostructures for optomechanics application
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Suspended silicon based nanostructures for optomechanic applications have been successfully fabricated using the Hydrofluoric acid (HF) vapor phase etching technique. In this paper, we demonstrate the fabrication of parallel silicon waveguides with a cross section of 250nm x 220nm, and photonic crystal nanobeam cavities with an air gap as small as 50nm between these released structures. The waveguides have been suspended over a distance of more than 75um. Stiction is a major issue for releasing structures with gaps in the order of tens of nanometers. At the same time, the process has to be gentle due to the small dimensions of the structures involved in the release process. HF vapor etching technique was successfully utilized to etch the 2um thick thermally grown sacrificial silicon oxide layer. This process has an high yield as no liquid is in contact with the structures being released, thus eliminating any kind of liquid flow which typically proves to be a potential destruction source for such small structures. This HF vapor phase etching is a simple and controllable process which completely eliminates the requirement of any kind of sophisticated drying techniques needed with conventional wet etching.
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Parag B. Deotare, Mughees Khan, and Marko Loncar "Vapor phase release of silicon nanostructures for optomechanics application", Proc. SPIE 7205, Advanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics II, 72050A (23 February 2009);

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