Sol-gel bonding of silicon wafers: Part 2. Influence of the sol-gel chemistry on bond morphology and interfacial energy
Low temperature bonding of silicon wafers was achieved using sol-gel technology. The initial sol-gel chemistry of the coating solution was found to influence the mechanical properties of the resulting bonds. More precisely, the influence of parameters such as the alkoxide concentration, water-to-alkoxide molar ratio, pH, and solution aging on the final bond morphologies and interfacial fracture energy was studied. The thickness and density of the sol-gel coating were characterised using ellipsometry. The corresponding bonded specimens were investigated using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy to monitor their chemical composition, infrared imaging to control bond integrity, and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy to study their microstructure. Their interfacial fracture energy was measured using microindentation. An optimum water-to-alkoxide molar ratio of 10 and hydrolysis water at pH = 2 were found. Such conditions led to relatively dense films (over 90 percent), resulting in bonds with a fracture energy of 3.5 J/m2, significantly higher than those obtained using classical hydrophilic bonding (typically 1.5-2.5 J/m2). Ageing of the coating solution was found to decrease the bond strength
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