Thermal inkjet device using single-chip silicon microchannels

D. S. Wuu*, C. Y. Cheng, Ray-Hua Horng, G. C. Chan, S. L. Chiu, Y. Y. Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


We present a new method to fabricate silicon microfluidic channels by through-hole etching with subsequent planarization. The method is based on etching out the deep grooves through a perforated silicon carbide membrane, followed by sealing the membrane with plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). Low-pressure-chemical-vapor-deposited (LPCVD) polysilicon was used as a sacrificial layer to define the channel structure and only one etching step is required. This permits the realization of planarization after a very deep etching step in silicon and offers the possibility for film deposition, resist spinning and film patterning across deep grooves. The process technology was demonstrated on the fabrication of a monolithic silicon microchannel structure for thermal inkjet printing. The Ta-Al heater arrays are integrated on the top of each microchannel, which connect to a common on-chip front-end ink reservoir. The fabrication of this device requires six masks and no active nozzle-to-chip alignment. Moreover, the present micromachining process is compatible with the addition of on-chip circuitry for multiplexing the heater control signals. Heat transfer efficiency to the ink is enhanced by the high thermal conductivity of the silicon carbide in the channel ceiling, while the bulk silicon maintains high interchannel isolation. The fabricated inkjet devices show the droplet sizes of 20-50 μm in diameter with various channel dimensions and stable ejection of ink droplets more than 1 million.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1998
EventInput/Output and Imaging Technologies - Taipei, Taiwan
Duration: 9 Jul 199811 Jul 1998


  • Inkjet
  • Microchannel
  • Micromachining
  • Planarization
  • Silicon carbide
  • Through-hole etching

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