Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Paul L Bergstrom


With the development of micro systems, there is an increasing demand for integrable porous materials. In addition to those conventional applications, such as filtration, wicking, and insulating, many new micro devices, including micro reactors, sensors, actuators, and optical components, can benefit from porous materials. Conventional porous materials, such as ceramics and polymers, however, cannot meet the challenges posed by micro systems, due to their incompatibility with standard micro-fabrication processes. In an effort to produce porous materials that can be used in micro systems, porous silicon (PS) generated by anodization of single crystalline silicon has been investigated.

In this work, the PS formation process has been extensively studied and characterized as a function of substrate type, crystal orientation, doping concentration, current density and surfactant concentration and type. Anodization conditions have been optimized for producing very thick porous silicon layers with uniform pore size, and for obtaining ideal pore morphologies. Three different types of porous silicon materials: meso porous silicon, macro porous silicon with straight pores, and macro porous silicon with tortuous pores, have been successfully produced. Regular pore arrays with controllable pore size in the range of 2µm to 6µm have been demonstrated as well. Localized PS formation has been achieved by using oxide/nitride/polysilicon stack as masking materials, which can withstand anodization in hydrofluoric acid up to twenty hours. A special etching cell with electrolytic liquid backside contact along with two process flows has been developed to enable the fabrication of thick macro porous silicon membranes with though wafer pores. For device assembly, Si-Au and In-Au bonding technologies have been developed. Very low bonding temperature (~200 degrees C) and thick/soft bonding layers (~6µm) have been achieved by In-Au bondi ng technology, which is able to compensate the potentially rough surface on the porous silicon sample without introducing significant thermal stress.

The application of the porous silicon material in micro systems has been demonstrated in a micro gas chromatograph system by two indispensable components: an integrated vapor source and an inlet filter, wherein porous silicon performs the basic functions of porous media: wicking and filtration. By utilizing a macro porous silicon wick, the calibration vapor source was able to produce a uniform and repeatable vapor generation for n-decane with less than a 0.1% variation in 9 hours, and less than a 0.5% variation in rate over 7 days. With engineered porous silicon membranes the inlet filter was able to show a depth filtration with nearly 100% collection efficiency for particles larger than 0.3µm in diameter, a low pressure-drop of 523Pa at 20sccm flow rate, and a filter capacity of 500µg/cm2.