Fabrication of buckling free ultrathin silicon membranes by direct bonding with thermal difference

ACS Nano. 2015;9(4):3654-63. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b00234. Epub 2015 Mar 25.


An innovative method to fabricate large area (up to several squared millimeters) ultrathin (100 nm) monocrystalline silicon (Si) membranes is described. This process is based on the direct bonding of a silicon-on-insulator wafer with a preperforated silicon wafer. The stress generated by the thermal difference applied during the bonding process is exploited to produce buckling free silicon nanomembranes of large areas. The thermal differences required to achieve these membranes (≥1 mm(2)) are estimated by analytical calculations. An experimental study of the stress achievable by direct bonding through two specific surface preparations (hydrophobic or hydrophilic) is reported. Buckling free silicon nanomembranes secured on a 2 × 2 cm(2) frame with lateral dimensions up to 5 × 5 mm(2) are successfully fabricated using the optimized direct bonding process. The stress estimated by theoretical analysis is confirmed by Raman measurements, while the flatness of the nanomembranes is demonstrated by optical interferometry. The successful fabrications of high resolution (50 nm half pitch) tungsten gratings on the silicon nanomembranes and of focused ion beam milling nanostructures show the promising potential of the Si membranes for X-ray optics and for the emerging nanosensor market.

Keywords: direct bonding; nanofabrication; nanomembranes; nanotechnology; silicon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electric Impedance
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Mechanical Phenomena*
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Optical Phenomena
  • Silicon / chemistry*
  • Temperature*


  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Silicon