We report on the fabrication of periodic arrays of deep nanopores with high aspect ratios in crystalline silicon. The radii and pitches of the pores were defined in a chromium mask by means of deep UV scan and step technology. The pores were etched with a reactive ion etching process with SF6, optimized for the formation of deep nanopores. We have realized structures with pitches between 440 and 750 nm, pore diameters between 310 and 515 nm, and depth to diameter aspect ratios up to 16. To the best of our knowledge, this is the highest aspect ratio ever reported for arrays of nanopores in silicon made with a reactive ion etching process. Our experimental results show that the etching rate of the nanopores is aspect-ratio-dependent, and is mostly influenced by the angular distribution of the etching ions. Furthermore we show both experimentally and theoretically that, for sub-micrometer structures, reducing the sidewall erosion is the best way to maximize the aspect ratio of the pores. Our structures have potential applications in chemical sensors, in the control of liquid wetting of surfaces, and as capacitors in high-frequency electronics. We demonstrate by means of optical reflectivity that our high-quality structures are very well suited as photonic crystals. Since the process studied is compatible with existing CMOS semiconductor fabrication, it allows for the incorporation of the etched arrays in silicon chips.


Woldering, L. A., Tjerkstra, R. W., Jansen, H. V., Setija, I. D., & Vos, W. L. (2008). Periodic arrays of deep nanopores made in silicon with reactive ion etching and deep UV lithography. Nanotechnology, 19(Article number: 145304), 1–11. doi:10.1088/0957-4484/19/14/145304