Microstructuring characteristics of a chemically amplified photoresist synthesized for ultra-thick UV-LIGA applications

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Yang, Chii-Rong
Hsieh, Gen-Wen
Hsieh, Yu-Sheng
Lee, Yu-Der

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The thick-film photoresists are essential to fabricate high-aspect-ratio microstructures by the UV-LIGA process. However, current thick-film photoresists have some weaknesses including a thickness of only up to 100 µm, a poor line-width resolution and difficulty in being stripped. Consequently, a new type of thick-film photoresist is required. This work presents a novel positive-tone MMA/TBMA photoresist, formed by combining copolymerization and chemically amplification (CA) for use in the ultra-thick UV-LIGA process. An MMA/TBMA photoresist film with a thickness of 500 µm is easily achieved. For MMA/TBMA photoresist layers with thicknesses from 100 µm to 500 µm, an exposure dose from 80 to 100 mJ cm−2 per micron is required to remove all of the exposed photoresist, revealing that the selectivity between radiated and non-radiated zones during a long development process is sufficiently high; the sidewall verticality and aspect ratio of the microstructure are excellent; stress-induced cracks are not observed in the non-radiated zones after development. MMA/TBMA photoresist is demonstrated to fabricate open microstructures with aspect ratios of at least 10 and close microstructures with aspect ratios of not more than 10, such values of aspect ratio are still sufficient for most ultra-thick mold applications. Moreover, MMA/TBMA photoresist can undergo erosion by acidic electrolyte and easily be stripped using usual organic solvents. These findings demonstrate that MMA/TBMA photoresist has the potential to replace SU-8 resist in the ultra-thick UV-LIGA process.