The controlled fabrication of nanopores by focused electron-beam-induced etching Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The fabrication of nanometric holes within thin silicon-based membranes is of great importance for various nanotechnology applications. The preparation of such holes with accurate control over their size and shape is, thus, gaining a lot of interest. In this work we demonstrate the use of a focused electron-beam-induced etching (FEBIE) process as a promising tool for the fabrication of such nanopores in silicon nitride membranes and study the process parameters. The reduction of silicon nitride by the electron beam followed by chemical etching of the residual elemental silicon results in a linear dependence of pore diameter on electron beam exposure time, enabling accurate control of nanopore size in the range of 17-200 nm in diameter. An optimal pressure of 5.3 x 10(-6) Torr for the production of smaller pores with faster process rates, as a result of mass transport effects, was found. The pore formation process is also shown to be dependent on the details of the pulsed process cycle, which control the rate of the pore extension, and its minimal and maximal size. Our results suggest that the FEBIE process may play a key role in the fabrication of nanopores for future devices both in sensing and nano-electronics applications.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009