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Robust Auto-Alignment Technique for Orientation-Dependent Etching of Nanostructures



Craig D. McGray, Richard J. Kasica, Ndubuisi G. Orji, Ronald G. Dixson, Michael W. Cresswell, Richard A. Allen, Jon C. Geist


A robust technique is presented for auto-aligning nanostructures to slow-etching crystallographic planes in materials with diamond cubic structure. Lithographic mask patterns are modified from the intended dimensions of the nanostructures to compensate for uncertainty in crystal axis orientation. The technique was employed in fabricating 600-nm-long silicon nanolines having widths less than 5 nm, subjected to intentional misalignment of up to ±1°. After anisotropic etching, the auto-aligned structures exhibited as little as 1 nm of width variation, as measured by a critical dimension atomic force microscope, across 2° of variation in orientation. By contrast, the widths of control structures fabricated without auto-alignment showed 8 nm of variation. Use of the auto- alignment technique can eliminate the need for fiducial-based alignment methods in a variety of applications.
Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS


Auto-alignment, line width, nanoline, anisotropic etching, silicon etching, potassium hydroxide, KOH, TMAH, crystallographic etching, orientation-dependent etching, CD-AFM


McGray, C. , Kasica, R. , Orji, N. , Dixson, R. , Cresswell, M. , Allen, R. and Geist, J. (2012), Robust Auto-Alignment Technique for Orientation-Dependent Etching of Nanostructures, Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS, [online], (Accessed May 26, 2024)


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Created May 29, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017