Strain-accelerated HF etching of AlAs for epitaxial lift-off
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SourceJournal of Physics : Condensed Matter, 16, 21, (2004), pp. 3585-3596
Article / Letter to editor
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Applied Materials Science
Journal of Physics : Condensed Matter
SubjectApplied Materials Science
Epitaxial lift-off (ELO) is a process which allows for the separation of a single crystalline III/V thin film or device from the substrate it was deposited on. This process is based on the selective etching of an intermediate AlAs release layer in an aqueous HF solution. The lateral etch rate of the AlAs release layer through a narrow crevice in the weight-induced epitaxial lift-off (WI-ELO) process is much larger than observed for unobstructed planar AlAs layers. It is possible that this increase in etch rate is caused by the tensile strain induced upon the AlAs layer in the WI-ELO setup. In order to verify this assumption, planar AlAs layers, subjected to a controlled curvature, were etched in HF solutions and their etch duration was measured. The applied curvature reduced the already present compressive strain due to lattice mismatch. For large applied bending radii no change in etch rate was observed, because the induced bending is smaller than the already present bending due to the lattice mismatch. Further bending induces a total compressive strain from -0.126% to -0.11%, resulting in an etch rate variation from 0.054 up to 0.066 mm h(-1). Measurements on AlAs layers experiencing a tensile strain of +0.286% showed much higher etch rates of 0.134 mm h(-1). The present results obtained on etching experiments in the lateral plane are extrapolated to the perpendicular direction so that a combination with the data from previous work becomes feasible. This results in a better microscopic picture of the etch front in the WI-ELO process. It is found that the force exerted by the weight can be projected on an area, limited by the sample width and a depth of approximately 6 mum.
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