Effect of additives on the anisotropic etching of silicon by using a TMAH based solution

Ki Hwa Jun, Bum Joon Kim, Jung Sik Kim

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In this study, the anisotropic etching properties of single crystal silicon were examined using a tetramethyl ammonium hydroxide (TMAH). The variations in the Si etching rate and surface morphology at different etching temperatures and TMAH concentrations were evaluated. The effects of different additives were also examined. As the THAM concentration (10–25 wt. %) decreased, the etching rate increased from 10 μm/h to 70 μm/h at temperatures between 70°C and 90°C. On the other hand, the etched surface roughness became degraded as the hillock density and corner undercut ratio increased. To solve these problems, four additives, pyrazine, ammonium persulfate (AP), ammonium hydrogen sulfate (AHS), and isopropyl alcohol (IPA), were added to the TMAH solution. The experimental results showed that these additives play an important role in increasing the etching rate up to 10–20%. The etched surface was also improved significantly by the decreased hillock density on the surface. The addition of IPA to the TMAH solution showed excellent results in improving the etched surface flatness and the undercutting compensation. On the other hand, one of the characteristics of IPA is the decrease in etching rate with increasing amount of IPA. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-880
Number of pages10
JournalElectronic Materials Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2015


  • TMAH solution
  • anisotropic etching
  • hillock
  • undercutting


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