Complex engineering systems ranging from automobile engines to geothermal wells require specialized sensors to monitor conditions such as pressure, acceleration and temperature in order to improve efficiency and monitor component lifetime in what may be high temperature, corrosive, harsh environments. Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have demonstrated their ability to precisely and accurately take measurements under such conditions. The systems being monitored are typically made from metals, such as steel, while the MEMS sensors used for monitoring are commonly fabricated from silicon, silicon carbide and aluminum nitride, and so there is a sizable thermal expansion mismatch between the two. For these engineering applications the direct bonding of MEMS sensors to the components being monitored is often required. This introduces several challenges, namely the development of a bond that is capable of surviving high temperature harsh environments while mitigating the thermally induced strains produced during bonding.
This project investigates the development of a robust packaging and bonding process, using the gold-tin metal system and the solid-liquid interdiffusion (SLID) bonding process, to join silicon carbide substrates directly to type-316 stainless steel. The SLID process enables bonding at lower temperatures while producing a bond capable of surviving higher temperatures. Finite element analysis was performed to model the thermally induced strains generated in the bond and to understand the optimal way to design the bond. The cross-sectional composition of the bonds has been analyzed and the bond strength has been investigated using die shear testing. The effects of high temperature aging on the bond’s strength and the metallurgy of the bond were studied. Additionally, loading of the bond was performed at temperatures over 415◦C, more than 100◦C above the temperature used for bonding, with full survival of the bond, thus demonstrating the benefit of SLID bonding for high temperature applications.
Lastly, this dissertation provides recommendations for improving the strength and durability of the bond at temperatures of 400◦C and provides the framework for future work in the area of high temperature harsh environment MEMS packaging that would take directly bonded MEMS to temperatures of 600◦C and beyond.