Special Issue "SiC based Miniaturized Devices"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "D:Materials and Processing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Stephen Edward Saddow
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departments of Electrical and Medical Engineering, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, ENB118 Tampa, FL 33620, USA
Interests: SiC; neural interfaces; SiC MEMS; biotechnology
Prof. Dr. Daniel Alquier
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Tours GREMAN (UMR-CNRS 7347), 16 rue Pierre et Marie CURIE, BP 7155, 37071 TOURS CEDEX 2, France
Interests: wide band gap (SiC & GaN); Power devices; MEMS; NEMS; material processing; doping
Prof. Dr. Jing Wang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electrical Engineering, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, ENB118 Tampa, FL 33620, USA
Tel. (813)263-8445
Interests: advanced manufacturing; MEMS/NEMS transducers; nanomaterials and nanotechnology; microfluidics and biosensors; RF/microwave electronics
Dr. Francesco LaVia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR-IMM sezione di Catania (Strada VIII 5 - Zona Industriale, I-95121 Catania, Italy)
Interests: epitaxial crystal growth and the characterization of semiconductors
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Mariana Fraga
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto Cientifico e Tecnologico da Universidade Brasil, Rua Carolina Fonseca 235, Itaquera, 08230-030, Sao Paulo - SP, Brazil
Interests: materials science; energy; microelectronics; aerospace engineering; biomedical engineering and bioengineering

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

MEMS devices are found in many of today’s electronic devices and systems, from air-bag sensors in cars to smart phones, embedded systems, etc. Increasingly, the reduction in dimensions has led to nanometer-scale devices, called NEMS. The plethora of applications on the commercial market speaks for itself, and especially for the highly precise manufacturing of silicon-based MEMS and NEMS. While this is a tremendous achievement, silicon as a material has some drawbacks, mainly in the area of mechanical fatigue and thermal properties. Silicon carbide (SiC), a well-known wide-bandgap semiconductor whose adoption in commercial products is experiening exponential growth, especially in the power electronics arena. While SiC MEMS have been around for decades, in this Special Issue we seek to capture both an overview of the devices that have been demonstrated to date, as well as bring new technologies and progress in the MEMS processing area to the forefront. Thus, this Special Issue seeks to showcase research papers, short communications, and review articles that focus on: (1) novel designs, fabrication, control, and modeling of SiC MEMS and NEMS based on all kinds of actuation mechanisms; and (2) new developments in applying SiC MEMS and NEMS in consumer electronics, optical communications, industry, medicine, agriculture, space, and defense.

Prof. Dr. Stephen Edward Saddow
Prof. Dr. Daniel Alquier
Prof. Dr. Jing Wang
Dr. Francesco La Via
Dr. Mariana Fraga
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • SiC microsystems
  • SiC MEMS
  • SiC biomedical devices
  • SiC micromachines
  • SiC microsensors

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Silicon Carbide Microstrip Radiation Detectors
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 835; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120835 - 30 Nov 2019
Abstract
Compared with the most commonly used silicon and germanium, which need to work at cryogenic or low temperatures to decrease their noise levels, wide-bandgap compound semiconductors such as silicon carbide allow the operation of radiation detectors at room temperature, with high performance, and [...] Read more.
Compared with the most commonly used silicon and germanium, which need to work at cryogenic or low temperatures to decrease their noise levels, wide-bandgap compound semiconductors such as silicon carbide allow the operation of radiation detectors at room temperature, with high performance, and without the use of any bulky and expensive cooling equipment. In this work, we investigated the electrical and spectroscopic performance of an innovative position-sensitive semiconductor radiation detector in epitaxial 4H-SiC. The full depletion of the epitaxial layer (124 µm, 5.2 × 1013 cm−3) was reached by biasing the detector up to 600 V. For comparison, two different microstrip detectors were fully characterized from −20 °C to +107 °C. The obtained results show that our prototype detector is suitable for high resolution X-ray spectroscopy with imaging capability in a wide range of operating temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SiC based Miniaturized Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of the Young’s Modulus and the Residual Stress of 4H-SiC Circular Membranes on 4H-SiC Substrates
Micromachines 2019, 10(12), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10120801 - 21 Nov 2019
Abstract
The stress state is a crucial parameter for the design of innovative microelectromechanical systems based on silicon carbide (SiC) material. Hence, mechanical properties of such structures highly depend on the fabrication process. Despite significant progresses in thin-film growth and fabrication process, monitoring the [...] Read more.
The stress state is a crucial parameter for the design of innovative microelectromechanical systems based on silicon carbide (SiC) material. Hence, mechanical properties of such structures highly depend on the fabrication process. Despite significant progresses in thin-film growth and fabrication process, monitoring the strain of the suspended SiC thin-films is still challenging. However, 3C-SiC membranes on silicon (Si) substrates have been demonstrated, but due to the low quality of the SiC/Si heteroepitaxy, high levels of residual strains were always observed. In order to achieve promising self-standing films with low residual stress, an alternative micromachining technique based on electrochemical etching of high quality homoepitaxy 4H-SiC layers was evaluated. This work is dedicated to the determination of their mechanical properties and more specifically, to the characterization of a 4H-SiC freestanding film with a circular shape. An inverse problem method was implemented, where experimental results obtained from bulge test are fitted with theoretical static load-deflection curves of the stressed membrane. To assess data validity, the dynamic behavior of the membrane was also investigated: Experimentally, by means of laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV) and theoretically, by means of finite element computations. The two methods provided very similar results since one obtained a Young’s modulus of 410 GPa and a residual stress value of 41 MPa from bulge test against 400 GPa and 30 MPa for the LDV analysis. The determined Young’s modulus is in good agreement with literature values. Moreover, residual stress values demonstrate that the fabrication of low-stressed SiC films is achievable thanks to the micromachining process developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SiC based Miniaturized Devices)
Open AccessArticle
An Improved 4H-SiC MESFET with a Partially Low Doped Channel
Micromachines 2019, 10(9), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10090555 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
An improved 4H-SiC metal semiconductor field effect transistor (MESFET) based on the double-recessed MESFET (DR-MESFET) for high power added efficiency (PAE) is designed and simulated in this paper and its mechanism is explored by co-simulation of ADS and ISE-TCAD software. This structure has [...] Read more.
An improved 4H-SiC metal semiconductor field effect transistor (MESFET) based on the double-recessed MESFET (DR-MESFET) for high power added efficiency (PAE) is designed and simulated in this paper and its mechanism is explored by co-simulation of ADS and ISE-TCAD software. This structure has a partially low doped channel (PLDC) under the gate, which increases the PAE of the device by decreasing the absolute value of the threshold voltage (Vt), gate-source capacitance (Cgs) and saturation current (Id). The simulated results show that with the increase of H, the PAE of the device increases and then decreases when the value of NPLDC is low enough. The doping concentration and thickness of the PLDC are respectively optimized to be NPLDC = 1 × 1015 cm−3 and H = 0.15 μm to obtain the best PAE. The maximum PAE obtained from the PLDC-MESFET is 43.67%, while the PAE of the DR-MESFET is 23.43%; the optimized PAE is increased by 86.38%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SiC based Miniaturized Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication of a Monolithic Implantable Neural Interface from Cubic Silicon Carbide
Micromachines 2019, 10(7), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10070430 - 29 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
One of the main issues with micron-sized intracortical neural interfaces (INIs) is their long-term reliability, with one major factor stemming from the material failure caused by the heterogeneous integration of multiple materials used to realize the implant. Single crystalline cubic silicon carbide (3C-SiC) [...] Read more.
One of the main issues with micron-sized intracortical neural interfaces (INIs) is their long-term reliability, with one major factor stemming from the material failure caused by the heterogeneous integration of multiple materials used to realize the implant. Single crystalline cubic silicon carbide (3C-SiC) is a semiconductor material that has been long recognized for its mechanical robustness and chemical inertness. It has the benefit of demonstrated biocompatibility, which makes it a promising candidate for chronically-stable, implantable INIs. Here, we report on the fabrication and initial electrochemical characterization of a nearly monolithic, Michigan-style 3C-SiC microelectrode array (MEA) probe. The probe consists of a single 5 mm-long shank with 16 electrode sites. An ~8 µm-thick p-type 3C-SiC epilayer was grown on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer, which was followed by a ~2 µm-thick epilayer of heavily n-type (n+) 3C-SiC in order to form conductive traces and the electrode sites. Diodes formed between the p and n+ layers provided substrate isolation between the channels. A thin layer of amorphous silicon carbide (a-SiC) was deposited via plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) to insulate the surface of the probe from the external environment. Forming the probes on a SOI wafer supported the ease of probe removal from the handle wafer by simple immersion in HF, thus aiding in the manufacturability of the probes. Free-standing probes and planar single-ended test microelectrodes were fabricated from the same 3C-SiC epiwafers. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) were performed on test microelectrodes with an area of 491 µm2 in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) solution. The measurements showed an impedance magnitude of 165 kΩ ± 14.7 kΩ (mean ± standard deviation) at 1 kHz, anodic charge storage capacity (CSC) of 15.4 ± 1.46 mC/cm2, and a cathodic CSC of 15.2 ± 1.03 mC/cm2. Current-voltage tests were conducted to characterize the p-n diode, n-p-n junction isolation, and leakage currents. The turn-on voltage was determined to be on the order of ~1.4 V and the leakage current was less than 8 μArms. This all-SiC neural probe realizes nearly monolithic integration of device components to provide a likely neurocompatible INI that should mitigate long-term reliability issues associated with chronic implantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SiC based Miniaturized Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling and Experiment of the Critical Depth of Cut at the Ductile–Brittle Transition for a 4H-SiC Single Crystal
Micromachines 2019, 10(6), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10060382 - 07 Jun 2019
Abstract
In this paper, a theoretical model of the critical depth of cut of nanoscratching on a 4H-SiC single crystal with a Berkovich indenter is proposed, and a series of scratch tests in a nanomechanical test system was performed. Through nanoindentation experimentation on fused [...] Read more.
In this paper, a theoretical model of the critical depth of cut of nanoscratching on a 4H-SiC single crystal with a Berkovich indenter is proposed, and a series of scratch tests in a nanomechanical test system was performed. Through nanoindentation experimentation on fused quartz, the Berkovich indenter nose radius was indirectly confirmed using least squares. The range of critical depths of cut at the ductile–brittle transition was obtained by SEM observation, and the size of cracks was amplified with increasing scratching depth. The theoretical result of the critical depth of cut at the ductile–brittle transition for a 4H-SiC single crystal is 91.7 nm, which is close to the first obvious pop-in point of the relation curve between tangential force and lateral displacement. Repeated experimental results show good consistency and good agreement with other references. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SiC based Miniaturized Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
A Nanomechanical Analysis of Deformation Characteristics of 6H-SiC Using an Indenter and Abrasives in Different Fixed Methods
Micromachines 2019, 10(5), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10050332 - 18 May 2019
Abstract
The super-precise theory for machining single crystal SiC substrates with abrasives needs to be improved for its chemical stability, extremely hard and brittle. A Berkovich indenter was used to carry out a systematic static stiffness indentation experiments on single crystal 6H-SiC substrates, and [...] Read more.
The super-precise theory for machining single crystal SiC substrates with abrasives needs to be improved for its chemical stability, extremely hard and brittle. A Berkovich indenter was used to carry out a systematic static stiffness indentation experiments on single crystal 6H-SiC substrates, and then these substrates were machined by utilizing fixed, free, and semi-fixed abrasives, and the nanomechanical characteristics and material removal mechanisms using abrasives in different fixed methods were analyzed theoretically. The results indicated that the hardness of C faces and Si faces of single crystal 6H-SiC under 500 mN load were 38.596 Gpa and 36.246 Gpa respectively, and their elastic moduli were 563.019 Gpa and 524.839 Gpa, respectively. Moreover, the theoretical critical loads for the plastic transition and brittle fracture of C face of single crystal 6H-SiC were 1.941 mN and 366.8 mN, while those of Si face were 1.77 mN and 488.67 mN, respectively. The 6H-SiC materials were removed by pure brittle rolling under three-body friction with free abrasives, and the process parameters determined the material removal modes of 6H-SiC substrates by grinding with fixed abrasives, nevertheless, the materials were removed under full elastic-plastic deformation in cluster magnetorheological finishing with semi-fixed abrasives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SiC based Miniaturized Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of AlN Intermediate Layer on the Structural and Chemical Properties of SiC Thin Films Produced by High-Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering
Micromachines 2019, 10(3), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10030202 - 22 Mar 2019
Abstract
Many strategies have been developed for the synthesis of silicon carbide (SiC) thin films on silicon (Si) substrates by plasma-based deposition techniques, especially plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and magnetron sputtering, due to the importance of these materials for microelectronics and related [...] Read more.
Many strategies have been developed for the synthesis of silicon carbide (SiC) thin films on silicon (Si) substrates by plasma-based deposition techniques, especially plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and magnetron sputtering, due to the importance of these materials for microelectronics and related fields. A drawback is the large lattice mismatch between SiC and Si. The insertion of an aluminum nitride (AlN) intermediate layer between them has been shown useful to overcome this problem. Herein, the high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) technique was used to grow SiC thin films on AlN/Si substrates. Furthermore, SiC films were also grown on Si substrates. A comparison of the structural and chemical properties of SiC thin films grown on the two types of substrate allowed us to evaluate the influence of the AlN layer on such properties. The chemical composition and stoichiometry of the samples were investigated by Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) and Raman spectroscopy, while the crystallinity was characterized by grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD). Our set of results evidenced the versatility of the HiPIMS technique to produce polycrystalline SiC thin films at near-room temperature by only varying the discharge power. In addition, this study opens up a feasible route for the deposition of crystalline SiC films with good structural quality using an AlN intermediate layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SiC based Miniaturized Devices)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Silicon Carbide Converters and MEMS Devices for High-temperature Power Electronics: A Critical Review
Micromachines 2019, 10(6), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10060406 - 19 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The significant advance of power electronics in today’s market is calling for high-performance power conversion systems and MEMS devices that can operate reliably in harsh environments, such as high working temperature. Silicon-carbide (SiC) power electronic devices are featured by the high junction temperature, [...] Read more.
The significant advance of power electronics in today’s market is calling for high-performance power conversion systems and MEMS devices that can operate reliably in harsh environments, such as high working temperature. Silicon-carbide (SiC) power electronic devices are featured by the high junction temperature, low power losses, and excellent thermal stability, and thus are attractive to converters and MEMS devices applied in a high-temperature environment. This paper conducts an overview of high-temperature power electronics, with a focus on high-temperature converters and MEMS devices. The critical components, namely SiC power devices and modules, gate drives, and passive components, are introduced and comparatively analyzed regarding composition material, physical structure, and packaging technology. Then, the research and development directions of SiC-based high-temperature converters in the fields of motor drives, rectifier units, DC–DC converters are discussed, as well as MEMS devices. Finally, the existing technical challenges facing high-temperature power electronics are identified, including gate drives, current measurement, parameters matching between each component, and packaging technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SiC based Miniaturized Devices)
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