Laser Ultrasonic Characterisation of Membranes for Use as MEMS

Edwards, RS
Zhou, LQ
Pearce, M
Prince, R
Myronov, M
Shah, VA
Leadley, DR
Trushkevych, O
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Germanium (Ge) on Silicon (Si) has the potential to produce a wide variety of devices, including sensors, solar cells and transistors. Modification of these materials so that a suspended membrane layer is formed, through removing regions of the Si substrate, offers the potential for sensors with a more rapid response and higher sensitivity. Such membranes are a very simple micro-electronic mechanical system (MEMS). It is essential to ensure that the membranes are robust against shock and vibration, with well-characterised resonant frequencies, prior to any practical application.

We present work using laser interferometry to characterise the resonant modes of membranes produced from Ge or silicon carbide (SiC) on a Si substrate, with the membranes typically having sub-mm lateral dimensions. Two-dimensional scanning of the sample enables visualisation of each mode. The stress measured from the resonant frequencies agrees well with that calculated from the growth conditions. SiC is shown to provide a more robust platform for electronics, while Ge offers better resonant properties. Defects on the membranes alter the resonant mode, and this offers a potential technique for characterising production quality or lifetime testing for the MEMS produced.