The stress properties of the a-SiC:H films on Si by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) are investigated. It is found that the stability of the a-SiC:H films relates to Si-H bonds breaking and changes the stress toward tensile. No evident reduction in the content of Si-H bonds after thermal cycles was found in the carbon-rich samples. Moreover, a new method to fabricate microchannels by through-hole etching with subsequent planarization is proposed. The process is based on etching out the deep grooves through a perforated a-SiC:H membrane, where poly-Si is used as a sacrificial layer to define the channel structure, followed by PECVD sealing the SiC:H membrane. In order to improve the etching performance, the agitated KOH etch is performed at low temperatures (< 50°C). The process technology is demonstrated on the fabrication of microfluidic channels with the low-stress (<0.1 GPa) a-SiC:H membranes.
- Plasma processing and deposition
- Silicon carbide