Wet NanoBonding™: Catalyzing Molecular Cross-Bridges and Interphases Between Nanoscopically Smoothed Si-Based Surfaces and Tailoring Surface Energy Components
Dry and steam NanoBonding™ are conceived and researched to bond Si-based surfaces, via nucleation and growth of a two-dimensional SiOxHy or hydrated SiOxHy interphase connecting surfaces at the nanoscale across macroscopic domains. The motivation is to create strong, long lasting, hermetically bonded sensors with their electronics for the development of an artificial pancreas and to bond solar cells to glass panels for robust photovoltaic technology. The first step in NanoBonding™ is to synthesize smooth surfaces with 20 nm wide atomic terraces via a precursor phase, ß-cSiO2 on Si(100) and oxygen-deficient SiOx on the silica using the Herbots-Atluri process and Entrepix’s spin etching. Smooth precursor phases act as geometric and chemical template to nucleate and grow macroscopic contacting domains where cross bridging occurs via arrays of molecular strands in the hydrated SiOxHy interphase. Steam pressurization is found to catalyze NanoBonding™ consistently, eliminating the need for direct mechanical compression that limits the size and shape of wafers to be bonded in turn, reducing the cost of processing. Total surface energy measurements via 3 Liquids Contact Angle Analysis (3L CAA) enables accurate quantitative analysis of the total surface energy and each of its components. 3L CAA at each step in the process shows that surface energy drops to 42.4 ± 0.6 mJ/m2 from 57.5 ± 1.4 mJ/m2 after the Herbots-Atluri clean of an “As Received” wafer. 3L CAA after steam pressurization Nanobonding™ shows almost complete elimination from 13.8 mJ/m2 ± 1.0 to 0.002 ±- 0.0002 mJ/m2 in the contribution of acceptors to the total free surface energy, and an increase from 0.2 ± .03 to 23.8± 1.6 mJ/m2 in the contribution of donors. This is consistent with an increase in hydroxylation of the ß-cSiO2 surface as a consistent precursor phase for cross-bridging. This research optimizes the use of glycerin, water, and α-bromo-naphtalene in the use of 3L CAA to effectively quantify the components of total free surface energy which helps to better understand the most consistent method for NanoBonding™.