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Invited Paper

Direct-Write UV Laser Microfabrication of 3D Structures in Lithium-Alumosilicate Glass


w. w. Hansen, S. W. Janson, and H. He1vajian
Mechanics and Materials Technology Center The Aerospace Corporation
ABSTRACT
The direct-write laser machining technique has been used to process a lithium- alumosilicate glass (FoturanTM) for an application which requires 3D patterned microstructures. Using two UV laser wavelengths (248nm and 355 nm), microcavities and microstructures have been fabricated for the development of microthrusters for attitude and orbit control of a 1kg class (10 cm diameter) nanosatellite. In addition, experiments have been conducted to defme the processing window for the laser patterning technique. The results include a measure ofthe change in Foturan strength after a required program bake cycle plus HF etching rates as a function ofthe laser repetition rate for the two UV wavelengths.

INTRODUCTION
Systems studies show that 21st century low-earth-orbiting (LEO) global communications and earth monitoring systems could utilize constellations ofhundreds to thousands of individual spacecraft'. The feasibility of amassing and replenishing such large constellations will depend on the time and cost for manufacturing and launching individual spacecraft. Current spacecraft manufacturing approaches lead to production and launch schedules which are measured in years with individual spacecraft costs ranging from $1 million (a small limited-function LEO satellite) to well over $100 million (an advanced geosynchronous communications satellite) per spacecraft. Spacecraft manufacturing needs to become "faster and cheaper" to enable the massivelypopulated constellations ofthe future. One solution is to design spacecraft that are amenable to automated assembly and massproduction manufacturing techniques. A radical concept now under consideration is The Aerospace Corporation's Nanosatellite which leverages the processes and techniques developed by the microelectronics industry. Exploited to advantage are the automation, fabrication and assembly processes to produce a satellite which resembles a lap top computer in size and mass but is far more sophisticated in packaging. In essence, all the standard satellite subsystems, i.e., propulsion, attitude control, communications, etc., are fabricated onto a series ofwafers which then get stacked to form a sandwich-like structure. Both monolithic and multichip module packaging can be used to integrate the electronics, sensors, microactuators and fluid delivery systems required for a functioning satellite. Figure 1 shows an artist rendering ofthe Nanosatellite based on 10 cm diameter silicon (plus other materials) wafers. Glass, ceramic and polymeric materials are being considered to take advantage oftheir unique material properties2. Systems engineering studies confirm that a satellite design as shown in Fig. 1 can conduct continuous global store-and-forward communications and cloud-cover observation missions using 500 to 1000 satellites.

The feasibility ofthe Nanosatellite to conduct missions beyond that ofjust a communications mailbox (i.e. store-and-forward communications) will depend on the development of a micro propulsion system for attitude and orbit control3. We are developing UV laser 3D patterning techniques to fabricate microstructures in alumosilicate glass (FoturanTM) to provide rapid microthruster prototyping capability4. The techniques employ a high repetition rate UV laser and an XYZ microstepper positioner to selectively expose Foturan without using a physical mask. Three dimensional structures can be fabricated by selecting a laser wavelength to defme the absorption depth, and by controlling both the photon dose and the spatial contour of the laser beam near its focus. Experiments at two laser wavelengths (248 nm and 355 nm) resulted in fabrication of mesoscale devices 400 or 1500 microns high having microscale structure <100 microns. We fabricated fluid delivery channels 400 microns deep, microradiator "cooling" fms 400 microns high by 50 microns thick by 2000 microns long, 3D axisymmetric micronozzles up to 1500 microns deep, gas mixing plenums and arrays of glass field emitter tips (density> lO5tips/cm2). The ability to work in glass permits the prototyping of different microthruster types and other spacecraft subsystems. Microthrusters ranging from cold gas nozzles to ion engines will be necessary to meet the diverse propulsion requirements of future Nanosatellite missions.

Person to whom correspondence should be addressed

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SPIE Vol. 2991 0277-786X/971$lO.OO

Foturan is a photosensitive lithium-alumosilicate glass manufactured by Schott Glassworks of Germany5. In comparison to ceramics Foturan has no porosity. It has higher temperature stability and chemical resistivity when compared to plastics and shows better corrosion resistance when compared to metals. In a specific comparison to silicon, Foturan is available in a wide variety of dimensions and has a higher breaking strength. Its most unique property is a strong UV sensitivity which permits the structuring of the material. The UV photosensitive characteristics in Foturan arise from additions of Ce203 and Ag20. During UV illumination of the glass the Ce203 compound acts as an electron donor which then subsequently gets absorbed by silver ions to form neutral species. The processes following photosensitization include a heat treatment cycle to induce ceramization/nucleation ofthe silver particles and a subsequent HF solution bath which isotropically etches the exposed regions. in addition to the fabrication of microstructures, specific experiments have been done to parameterize the process window for the direct-write patterning of Foturan by a pulsed UV laser. The measurements include a) the photon saturation density for obtaining optimum etching rates, b) the etching ratio between exposed and unexposed glass, and c) the effect ofthe peak bake temperature in the ceramization step on the material strength.

EXPERIMENTAL
Foturan Fracture Testing
Table 1 shOws pertinent Foturan material properties as specified by the manufacturer prior to UV laser irradiation and the subsequent bake cycle6. The Table shows that the glass to ceramic transformation temperature occurs at 465C. Critical to the Nanosatellite application is the change in strength ofFoturan following the material processing. To gain some insight on the material strength change as a consequence ofthe ceramization process, measurements were made on a limited sample of Foturan coupons after the specimens were baked at a temperature below (400C) and above (500C) the transformation temperature (465C). A Foturan wafer 100 mm diameter by 1.5mm thick was cut into coupons 51 mm long by 9.8 mm wide. A four-point-bend test apparatus was designed with the intent to measure the modulus ofrupture (MOR) which is defmed as the stress at failure. The specific loading arrangement is shown in Figure 2. For an applied bending load and for simple geometric shapes, the stress and MOR can be readily calculated. For example, a rectangular cross section coupon with dimensions b wide and h high has a stress a' given by 6M/bh2 where Mis the bending moment. In the loading arrangement shown in Fig.2, Mis given by J.27P/2 where P is the total force applied to bend the coupon (P12 at two locations). The loading test experiment was conducted with only a limited number of test-samples (4 coupons).

As a result of the limited sample only qualitative conclusions can be drawn. The results show that the 500C baked specimens have MOR values which on the average are 63% harder ('-98 N/mm2) than that reported for the vitreous glass material state ( 60 N/mm2). The qualitative conclusion to be drawn is that the processed Foturan increases in strength.

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P/2

P/2

1 .27cm

1 .27cm

1.27cm
C)

3.81 cm

'

Specimen

5.1 cm x 0.98 cm x 0.15cm

Figure 2: Schematic ofloading arrangement used for Foturan strength tests.

Table 1: Foturan material properties7

Property
Young's Modulus POisson's Ratio Knoop Hardness Modulus ofRupture (MOR) Density Thermal Expansion ThermalConductivity Specific Heat Glass-ceramic Transformation Temperature Electrical Conductivity
Dielectric Constant

Foturan in the Vitreous Glass State


78 x i03 N/mm2

0.22
4600 N/mm2 60 N/mm2 2.37 g/cm3 8.6 I0/K 1.35 W/mK @20C

0.88 J/gK (25C


465 C
8.1 x 1012 Ohm-cm @25C 1 .3 x iO Ohm-cm @200C 6.5 @1MHz, 25C

Uv Direct-Write 3D Patterning
Figure 3 shows the transmission of light, as a function wavelength, through a 1mm thick Foturan sample. The data are from the manufacturer. The strong wavelength dependence between 250 nm and 350 nm can be used to control the exposure depth in a direct-write laser processing station where the laser is wavelength tunable. The two arrows mark the transmission at the two laser wavelengths used. They are 0.2% for the 248 nm irradiation and 75% for 351 nm irradiation. This large disparity in the transmission enables the patterning of structures 200-300 microns deep (248 nm irradiation) or 1500 microns deep (351 nm irradiation). For the 1.5 mm thick Foturan sample used, the 355nm laser wavelength permitted the fabrication ofholes through the sample. An additional refmement to this processing technique is the controlled metering ofthe laser irradiation dose at a given site (i.e. total deposited energy/area) which permits the fabrication of structures less than 200 microns thick. Direct-write laser patterning of Foturan is accomplished by using a motorized XYZ microstep positioner under computer control. The XYZ positioners (Daedal/ Parker Hannifm) have travel ranges on the X,Y and Z axis of 25 cm, 25 cm and 20 cm respectively. The positional accuracy of the system is 2tm per mm of travel with a bidirectional repeatability of per mm of travel. The microstepper resolutions are better than the positional accuracy by a factor of forty for the XY axis and better by a factor of ten forthe Z axis. Patterns are generated by using Motion Architect (Parker Hannifm Corp.) software which includes interpolated XYZ motion capability.

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Wafer Etching
Following UV laser irradiation and prior to the bake cycle, the material shows no evidence ofthe exposed pattern. However, after the bake cycle, which comprises a 4 hour program sequence, the exposed regions turn a brown or black color. A series of experiments were conducted to establish an optimum HF solution and etch conditions. For the Nanosatellite microthruster application, the critical issue in the processing is the ability to maintain a high etching rate at the exposed regions with minimum collateral etching damage to the unexposed regions - regardless of the total etch time required. This necessity comes about because of the need to fabricate structures which may be millimeters large but have features on the order of lOs to lOOs ofmicrons. Figures 5 and 6 show the measured etch depth as a function oftinie for exposed and unexposed Foturan samples.

Exposed Foturan- Etch Depth


1.55
1.5

1.45 a, C U .C I-. 1.35

. 1.4

U
0

__
5

y = -0.0216x + 1.5591

R2=0.9995

10

Minutes

Figure 5: Etcn depth as a function oftime following 248 nm laser irradiation at 200 Hz and 1.8 mW. The linear fit gives an etch rate of2l.6 tm/min.
The etch depth was measured by a digital caliper meter (Mitutoyo Corp.) having a depth resolution of 1pm and a probe tip area of 1 mm2. Therefore, the etch depth measurements are actually an average depth measured across the 1 mm2 probe tip area. The exposed/etched area was usually made much larger than 4x18 mm2. A 5% HF water solution maintained at 45C was used for all the etching experiments and both mechanical and ultrasonic agitation techniques were employed. The experiments include the measuring of the etch depth as a function of time for selected laser repetition rates and 248 nm laser irradiation. Etch depth measurements were also taken at various laser powers but at a fixed laser repetition rate. The experiments were performed by moving the sample at a rapid 50 spot-sizes-per-second velocity (average spot size diameter 25tm) and varying the laser repetition rate. Finally, as a comparison to the 248 mn data, a few experiments were conducted with the 355 nm laser source. Table 2 lists the results from these experiments.

Foturan Unexposed - Etch Depth


1.55

1.545.
a,
C
I

1.54.
1.535.
1.53

y=-0.0013x+1.5504
R2=0.846

Minutes

Figure 6: Etch depth as a function of time for an unexposed Foturan sample. Sample was exposed to the ceramization program bake. The linear fit gives an etch rate of 1.3 pm/mm.

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Table 2: Etch rate for exposed and unexposed Foturan samples.

Sample #

Etch Rate (.t/min)


ER2 Variancej

Etch Rate Ratio Exposed/Unexposed


15.5 15.8

incident Power @ Rep-Rate


1.8mW @200Hz 1.8mW @200Hz 6.1mW @800Hz

Comments

lB
2A 2B 3A 3B
7-Surface

21.6 [.999] 22.1 [.998] 28.4 [0.997]


29.1

__________ __________
___________

203
20.8 19.7 21.5
1.4 9.9
1.1

6.1mW
@800 Hz 7.6mW @1500 Hz 7.6mW @1500 Hz 0.9mW @100 Hz 0.9mW @100 Hz 0.5mW @50 Hz

[.997] 27.6 [0.999]


30.1

__________

_________

7-Imbedded

[.999] 1.9 [.994] 13.8 [.854]


1.5

_________ _________ _________


___________
Unexposed

8A
8B-UNex

[.964]
1.3

---

---

[.846]
___________________________________________________________________ 9A 1.8 1.3 <0.2mW

but baked sample


___________
Unexposed

[.988]
9A-Unex.
1.3

---

@20Hz ---

[.898]
___________________________________________________________________ 2.0 1.4 9B <0.1mW

but baked sample

[1.0]
9B-Unex.
1.5

---

@10Hz ---

_________
Unexposed

[.964]
____________________________________________________________________ 25.2 18.0 1.8mW IOA(351nm)

but baked sample __________


Unexposed

[.993]
1OA (35 1)-

1.4

---

@10Hz ---

Unexposed

[.956]

__________________________________________________________________ 26.2 18.7 2.2mW IOB(351nm)

but baked sample __________

[.998]

@10Hz

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


A number of conclusions are apparent from the results shown in Table 2. First, it appears that for the HF concentration and bath temperature used the unexposed or low-dose exposure Foturan samples have etch rates between 1 .3 - 2 tm/min. Second, it appears that the etch rate ratio (i.e. etch rate exposed Foturan/etch rate unexposed Foturan) can be made -22: 1 by depositing sufficient energy into the volume. Finally, the ratio ofthe etch rates for the 355 nm exposure (sample 10) is commensurate with that ofthe 248 nm exposure experiments. The results in Table 2 can be recast to show the change in the etching rate as a function of the total incident energy into a unit volume of material. In such a plot one would be able to compare the data measured at different incident power

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levels and repetition rates and different wavelengths. Figure 7 shows the Table 2 data recast in such a form. The data is fit to a natural logarithmic dependence. The figure shows that approximately 1-2.0 nJ oftotal incident energy is necessary to sufficiently expose a cubic micron volume of material to etch with a 20: 1 ratio. The total energy is equivalent to the total dose and doesnot take into account the differences in the peak power between the two lasers used (Pulsewidth: 7O nsec for 248 nm and 8 nsec for 355 am), differences in the optical reflectivity between the two laser wavelengths and losses to heating ofthe bulk material. These aspects are now being addressed in a series ofplanned experiments. Regardless, the data show sufficient promise for the Nanosatellite application and for the rapid prototyping of other devices. Specifically, for the microthruster development, the data showed that fabrication of a converging/diverging nozzle 1-2 mm long with a throat diameter of 100-200 microns was possible by bringing 355 am radiation to a focus within a 1-2 mm thick Foturan wafer. The result of HF etching ofunexposed material would result in overall etching on the order of45 pm, but this could easily be incorporated into the design dimensions. Figure 8 shows a photograph of a fabricated micronozzle taken using an optical microscope. The micronozzle has been tilted to show the converging/diverging shape. This micronozzle was fabricated using direct exposure of the 355am laser without the need for XYZ motion of the sample. Figures 9, 10 and 11 show scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of sharp structures fabricated by programmed scanning of the X-Y positioning stages with a 248 am laser beam focused at a constant depth beneath the Foturan surface (no Z motion). Figure 9 shows an array of pyramidal tips formed by overlapping X and Y scans, figure 10 shows a series of concentric rings with a central point formed by coordinated X-Y motion (1.2 mm maximum diameter by 0.3 mm deep), and figure 11 shows a series of rings about a single tip which share a common tangent. Note that the varying structure heights are due to various levels of overlap by the conical laser beam, and that the trenches are of uniform depth due to a fixed laser focus depth and the nonlinear absorption characteristics of Foturan.

0 25
20
15

. w0
& 10
5
0.0 Total Incident Energy (pJ/cubic micron)

y =2.4181Ln(x) + 2.2508

500.0 1000.0 1500.0 2000.0

Figure 7: Plot of the Foturan etch rate ratio as a function of total incident energy per exposed volume. Triangle represent data taken at 248 nm exposure, squares represent data taken at 355 nm exposure.

1 microscope photc

axisymmetric

micronozzle fabricated in Foturan glass. The exit hole is roughly 700 microns wide, the nozzle throat is less than 100 microns wide.

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Figure 9: SEM of an array of emitter tips bottom of a square well. Photo is taken to show the aspect ratio walls of the well.

photos of a single ip in a 1.2 mm wide diameter circular well. Left photo shows overview while the right is a magnification of the tip region.

-4

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Figure 11: Off-axis tip in a circular hole (1mm diameter). The tip is surrounded by a series ofwalls where each walls is ofvariable height.

CONCLUSION
Foturan, coupled with direct-write UV laser radiation, is a promising material for creating 3D mesoscale and microscale structures. By controlling wavelength, total dose, and beam shape, the laser becomes an extremely flexible "cutting tool" that can be used to produce various structures required for spacecraft subsystems and other devices.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the Aerospace Corporation through the Aerospace Sponsored Research and Corporate Research Initiative programs.

'S. W. Janson, Spacecraft as an Assembly ofASIMs, in Microengineering Technology for Space Systems, H. Helvajian Ed., Aerospace Technical Report ATR-95(8168)-2, 1995 2 H. Helvajian, GaAs Materials: An Overview Assessment for Nanosatellite Application, Aerospace Technical Report ATR-96(8260)2, 1996 S. W. Janson, Chemical and Electric Micropropulsion Concepts for Nanosatellites, Proceedings of the 30th AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference, AIAA-94-2998 (1994). ' S. W. Janson, and H. Helvajian, Batch-Fabricated Microthrusters: Initial Results, Proceedings AIAA 32nd Joint Propropulsion Conference AIAA-96-2988 (1996). D. HUlsenberg, R. Bruntsch, K. Schmidt, F. Reinhold, Mikromechanische Bearbeitung von fotoempfindlichem Glas, Silikattechnik, Vol. 41(1990), 364. 6 Foturan - A Material for Microtechnology, technical literature by Schott Glaswerke Optics Division and 1MM Institut fr Mikrotechnik GmBH Mainz Germany.

Ibid.

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