Wafer-scale Vacuum and Liquid Packaging Concepts for an Optical Thin-film Gas Sensor

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: This thesis treats the development of packaging and integration methods for the cost-efficient encapsulation and packaging of microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices. The packaging of MEMS devices is often more costly than the device itself, partly because the packaging can be crucial for the performance of the device. For devices which contain liquids or needs to be enclosed in a vacuum, the packaging can account for up to 80% of the total cost of the device.The first part of this thesis presents the integration scheme for an optical dye thin film NO2-gas sensor, designed using cost-efficient implementations of wafer-scale methods. This work includes design and fabrication of photonic subcomponents in addition to the main effort of integration and packaging of the dye-film. A specific proof of concept target was for NO2 monitoring in a car tunnel.The second part of this thesis deals with the wafer-scale packaging methods developed for the sensing device. The developed packaging method, based on low-temperature plastic deformation of gold sealing structures, is further demonstrated as a generic method for other hermetic liquid and vacuum packaging applications. In the developed packaging methods, the mechanically squeezed gold sealing material is both electroplated microstruc- tures and wire bonded stud bumps. The electroplated rings act like a more hermetic version of rubber sealing rings while compressed in conjunction with a cavity forming wafer bonding process. The stud bump sealing processes is on the other hand applied on completed cavities with narrow access ports, to seal either a vacuum or liquid inside the cavities at room temperature. Additionally, the resulting hermeticity of primarily the vacuum sealing methods is thoroughly investigated.Two of the sealing methods presented require permanent mechanical fixation in order to complete the packaging process. Two solutions to this problem are presented in this thesis. First, a more traditional wafer bonding method using tin-soldering is demonstrated. Second, a novel full-wafer epoxy underfill-process using a microfluidic distribution network is demonstrated using a room temperature process.