Measurement, optimization and multiscale modeling of silicon wafer bonding interface fracture resistance

by Bertholet, Yannick

Abstract (Summary)
Wafer bonding is a process by which two or more mirror-polished flat surfaces are joined together. This process is increasingly used in microelectronics and microsystems industries as a key fabrication technique for various applications: production of SOI wafers, pressure sensors, accelerometers and all sorts of advanced MEMS. Unfortunately, the lack of reliability of these systems does not allow them to enter the production market. This lack of reliability is often related to the lack of understanding and control of the thermo-mechanical properties of materials used for the fabrication of MEMS (indeed, at this small scale, properties of materials are sometimes quite different than at large scale) but it is also due to the limited knowledge of the different phenomena occurring during the working of these devices, the most detrimental of them being fracture. Among all of these fracture processes, the integrity of the interfaces and, particularly, the interfaces created by wafer bonding is a generic problem with significant technological relevance. In order to understand the bonding behavior of silicon wafers, the interface chemistry occurring during the different steps of the bonding process has been detailed. The formation of strong covalent bonds across the two surfaces is responsible of the high fracture resistance of gwafer bondingh interfaces after appropriate surface treatments and annealing. The bonding process (surface treatments and annealing step) has been optimized toward reaching the best combination of interface toughness and bonding uniformity. The fracture resistance of gwafer bondingh interfaces or interface toughness has been determined using a steady-state method developed in the framework of this thesis. The high sensitivity to geometrical and environmental factors of gwafer bondingh interfaces has been quantified and related to the interface chemistry. A new technique involving the insertion of a dissipative ductile interlayer between the silicon substrate and the top silicon oxide has been proposed in order to increase the overall fracture resistance. A multiscale modeling strategy which involves the description of the interface fracture at the atomic scale, of the plasticity in the thin interlayer at the microscopic scale, and of the macroscopic structure of specimen has been used to guide the optimization of this technique. Numerical simulations have shown the influence of the ductile interlayer parameters (yield strength, workhardening exponent and thickness) and the critical strength of the interface on the overall toughness of such assemblies. A first set of experimental data has allowed increasing the interface toughness by 70%. The critical strength of the interface is finally determined by inverse identification and turns out to be in the expected range of theoretical strength. The knowledge of the strength and the fracture toughness of gwafer bondingh interfaces is of practical importance because these two values can be used in a simple fracture model (e.g. cohesive-zone model) in order to observe the behavior of such interfaces under complex loading using finite element simulations.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Université catholique de Louvain

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:wafer bonding interface toughness multiscale modeling


Date of Publication:10/20/2006

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