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Sensors 2008, 8(6), 3848-3872;

Fabrication and Characterization of Silicon Micro-Funnels and Tapered Micro-Channels for Stochastic Sensing Applications

U. S. Naval Research Laboratory, Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering 4555 Overlook, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 May 2008 / Revised: 5 June 2008 / Accepted: 6 June 2008 / Published: 9 June 2008
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We present a simplified, highly reproducible process to fabricate arrays of tapered silicon micro-funnels and micro-channels using a single lithographic step with a silicon oxide (SiO2) hard mask on at a wafer scale. Two approaches were used for the fabrication. The first one involves a single wet anisotropic etch step in concentrated potassium hydroxide (KOH) and the second one is a combined approach comprising Deep Reactive Ion Etch (DRIE) followed by wet anisotropic etching. The etching is performed through a 500 mm thick silicon wafer, and the resulting structures are characterized by sharp tapered ends with a sub-micron cross-sectional area at the tip. We discuss the influence of various parameters involved in the fabrication such as the size and thickness variability of the substrate, dry and wet anisotropic etching conditions, the etchant composition, temperature, diffusion and micro-masking effects, the quality of the hard mask in the uniformity and reproducibility of the structures, and the importance of a complete removal of debris and precipitates. The presence of apertures at the tip of the structures is corroborated through current voltage measurements and by the translocation of DNA through the apertures. The relevance of the results obtained in this report is discussed in terms of the potential use of these structures for stochastic sensing. View Full-Text
Keywords: stochastic sensing; silicon; anisotropic etching. stochastic sensing; silicon; anisotropic etching.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Archer, M.J.; Ligler, F.S. Fabrication and Characterization of Silicon Micro-Funnels and Tapered Micro-Channels for Stochastic Sensing Applications. Sensors 2008, 8, 3848-3872.

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