Transistor characteristics summary for a single pore device, from Ref. .
Macroporous silicon (MPS) is a versatile material that since its origin in the early 1990s has seen intense research and has found applications in many fields. MPS is a key technology in photonic crystals research, and optic and photonic applications are its main applications. However, this chapter is devoted to several of the non‐photonic uses of MPS. In particular, new electronic and MEMS devices and applications will be described. Furthermore, in this chapter, the technology of MPS fabrication will be presented.
- macroporous silicon
- electrochemical etching
- field effect transistors
Macroporous silicon (MPS) is a novel material, which was described as such in the early 1990s by Lehmann in his pioneering works [1–3] and by other researchers [4, 5]. Since its first description, MPS has attracted great interest, and it has been suggested for many applications in several fields such as electronics , optics , photonics , solar cells , and even energy storage , fuel cells  or catalysis .
One particular form of MPS consists on an ordered arrangement of the pores that are etched on the silicon bulk. In such form, the primary interest of MPS is as photonic crystals (PCs). However, as it will be revealed throughout the chapter, many other applications have been proposed for MPS, which does not make use of that interesting optical properties. For such cases, the use of an ordered array of pores may not be necessary, but in many cases, this can give certain advantages.
In the present chapter, a brief review on the technology of macroprorous silicon, its fabrication techniques and its applications will be presented. In this chapter, special emphasis is made regarding the
2. Brief history of macroporous silicon
Electrochemical etching (EE) of silicon (and germanium) was known from the late 1950s. The works of Uhlir , Turner  and others  were the first to study the semiconductor dissolution in an electrolyte under anodic conditions. These initial works dealt with electropolishing of the semiconductor in order to obtain flat, defect‐free surfaces or for bulk thinning. However, it was noticed that under certain conditions, pits were formed instead of a uniform etching over the treated surface [13, 14]. In particular, low voltages and currents, or the pre‐existence of surface defects, were found to promote surface pitting, preferentially at surface irregularities or defects. Therefore, this allows removing material locally in a more or less controlled manner. The processing of surfaces done by this technique in the described way gives rise to
Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is one of the electrolytes used for EE. Its interest is that, in ambient conditions, it reacts very slowly with silicon1 Silicon dissolution in HF is a thermodynamically favourable process; however, the dissolution rate is very small: (about ) at room temperature . It must be noted that electrochemical etching is one possible method to obtain porous silicon. A different technique is stain etching. This is a purely chemical method based on the chemistry of silicon in mixtures, which also produces PS. See for example .
Silicon dissolution in HF is a thermodynamically favourable process; however, the dissolution rate is very small: (about ) at room temperature .
It must be noted that electrochemical etching is one possible method to obtain porous silicon. A different technique is stain etching. This is a purely chemical method based on the chemistry of silicon in mixtures, which also produces PS. See for example .
After the discovery, the interest of this new material in fields such as electronics and photonics became clear. Later on, the macroporous form of PS was developed, and it has also shown its potential in fields as different as catalysis , drug delivery , energy storage  or optical sensors . The first instances of MPS can be found in the early 1990s in Lehmann's pioneering works on fabrication [1, 2] and application of macroporous silicon . In his works, he focused primarily on the formation of ordered MPS in a controlled manner. The fabrication technique used in his works was the
2.1. What is macroporous silicon?
Macroporous silicon is a particular form of porous silicon. One way of classifying porous silicon is looking at the ‘pore size’. According to the IUPAC , the material can be designated as
Besides pore size, MPS can also be described either as ordered or random regarding the surface pore growth site distribution; this is shown in Figure 2. Nevertheless, the individual pore diameter distribution is not generally accounted in the classification of the material. Other morphological characteristics of macroporous silicon such as pore shape, branching, depth or depth profile are not normally considered when classifying MPS.
MPS is a versatile material that has some very interesting properties. To begin with, silicon is the material of choice in the semiconductor and MEMS industry. This opens the possibility to use many of the existing production methods, techniques, experience and equipment available in VLSI foundries and research labs. As a result, important costs savings can be achieved for the development and fabrication of devices based on MPS. Furthermore, it has been shown that by employing standard CMOS fabrication methods, it is possible to integrate MPS (and PS in general) into VLSI devices . The possibility of monolithic integration is a clear advantage of MPS for next‐generation device fabrication. Furthermore, MPS can be processed to create complex structures, as those of Figure 3 from Ref. . The as‐etched structures can be further processed to alter some morphological properties , to passivate the surface or to functionalize the MPS device with coatings such as catalysts , nanoparticles and others.
3. Fabrication of macroporous silicon
There exist several microfabrication and micromachining techniques that allow the production of MPS devices. Due to its historical importance, and because it allows micromachining in three dimensions, the An exposition of the different methods for PC fabrication and their possibilities can be seen in Ref. . For a general treatment on the subject, see Ref. .
An exposition of the different methods for PC fabrication and their possibilities can be seen in Ref. .
For a general treatment on the subject, see Ref. .
3.1. Reactive ion etching
RIE is a well‐known method for shaping silicon in microelectronics and MEMS device fabrication . A succinct description is as follows: this is a dry etching process where a plasma of a specific mixture of gases is used to selectively remove material from the stock. This process is done in a low‐pressure chamber. A mask is necessary to define the affected regions, and the etch proceeds anisotropically in the unmasked areas. The material is eroded at a speed that depends on the gas mixture, temperature, chamber pressure and power of the plasma. As described, RIE is simply a necessary step in the fabrication of MPS, as the mask can be defined by several means. For instance, layer by layer or DLW may or may not require the use of RIE for the fabrication of MPS and PCs.
The most interesting aspects of RIE for the processing of MPS are that it allows defining very small features, and that it is completely integrated into the VLSI fabrication process flow. Using RIE to create the pores gives great freedom in the mask layout as both processes are independent. This allows adding point defects, linear defects or other lattice disordering elements. This ability is of great interest for light processing and optical devices, such as waveguides, interferometers or resonators. It is, however, not limited to the photonics field, as it has also been demonstrated for electronic applications such as capacitors.
In spite of these advantages, the fabrication of MPS with RIE has some limitations. Firstly, etching high aspect ratio5 ‘Aspect ratio’ is defined as the ratio between the pore width over the pore length. Some attempts have been made into creation of 3‐d PCs exploiting the scalloping effect of RIE; however, progress has been slow .
‘Aspect ratio’ is defined as the ratio between the pore width over the pore length.
Some attempts have been made into creation of 3‐d PCs exploiting the scalloping effect of RIE; however, progress has been slow .
3.2. Electrochemical etching
Electrochemical etching of silicon is a very versatile method for the fabrication of MPS. As was found from the initial works on silicon etching, silicon can be selectively dissolved when immersed in an HF bath, and an electric current flows through. Therefore, this in an
The pore evolution and morphology using the EE method depends on several factors. On one hand, the current density and electrode potential determine de amount of etched silicon but have little influence in the advance of the ‘pore front’, that is the etch velocity. On the other hand, the electrolyte concentration, temperature, and optional additives affect the etch velocity and pore shape, and limit the practical operation area of the electrical parameters [1, 32]. Furthermore, the bulk characteristics such as doping type and density, crystal orientation, and carrier lifetime strongly determine the morphology of the pores, and the obtainable pore dimensions .
In the porous layer formation regime, it has been found that currents through the electrochemical cell have a similar shape to that shown in Figure 4 (for n‐type silicon). In particular, PS formation occurs if the current density is kept below . Larger currents will start to electropolish the surface of the semiconductor. For very large currents, , only electropolishing will take place. The chemical processes involved in the dissolution of silicon are quite complex and depend on the local current intensity and fluoride ion concentration. Two competing mechanisms act on the silicon surface: formation of and subsequent dissolution by , and direct dissolution of silicon [4, 33]. Oxide formation and dissolution consume four holes, and thus have valence 4 (). On the other hand, direct dissolution of silicon requires two to three holes depending on light intensity: low intensity favours , while high intensity favours . More insight on the chemicophysical aspects of silicon dissolution can be found in the works of Lehmann [2, 3], Zhang [4, 32] and Kolasinski .
The electrical characteristics of the silicon wafer substrate are determinant for the morphology of the etched pores. The size of the resulting pores is strongly dependent on the wafer resistivity (as seen in Figure 5) and the use of a mask to define the nucleation centres. From Lehmann's  and Zhang's  work, in the MPS etching regime, the pore morphology and growth are basically dependent on the space charge region (SCR) formed in the pore region in contact with the electrolyte. It was proposed that etching occurs at localized sites with a current density of whose value is just a function of the weight concentration of hydrofluoric acid: . The pore growth speed depends only on the current passing through the etched areas; thus, it can be calculated by the removed charge and valence of the reaction: Here, is an empirically determined constant, is the electrolyte concentration, is the empirically found activation energy, is the Boltzmann constant, is the temperature in Kelvin, is the reaction valence, is the electron charge (), and is the atomic density of silicon () . Typical concentration of used for MPS etching is around 2.4–10%.
In the case of ordered MPS, where a mask is used to define the pore growth sites (nucleation centres), etching current at the tips will be such that ; thus, the pore will advance at the same speed irrespective of pore size. However, by adjusting the total current through the substrate, it is possible to change the actual etched area (and thus pore diameter) since porosity . The pattern for the pore distribution can be fabricated using any lithographic means like UV or NIL. The mask can be a corrosion‐resistant material such as silicon nitride, but, given that MPS etching is highly anisotropic and selective under the correct parameters, it is possible to transfer the pattern directly to the silicon and create
As holes are needed for the porosification, for n‐type silicon, these need to be generated somehow. One of the most extended methods is PECE, after the work by Lehmann . This method requires illuminating the work silicon with suitable IR light; thus, the etching cell and controlling system must be similar to the one depicted in Figure 6. In such system, the cell current is proportional to the illumination intensity. Knowing the current limits from Figure 4, the computer control can be programmed to adjust the photogenerated current and cell potential to keep the pore growth stable. Electrolyte temperature is also controlled, as variations of it will change the and thus the etching speed. is pumped through the cell to remove any gas bubbles that may form from the release of hydrogen during etching and to provide fresh electrolyte. The electrical contact on the Si substrate may be done by coating with a thin transparent conductor or by physical contact with a different electrolyte on the backside. The simple configuration shown in Figure 6 uses a high‐doped layer on the backside with a probe to contact the backside. Oxygen dissolved in the electrolyte can also affect the pore shape, particularly if these are very deep. To reduce the unwanted oxidation, purging the electrolyte with bubbling is recommended.
It was seen that pore diameter (porosity) can be controlled in MPS by adjusting the photogenerated etching current. This is exploited to create 3‐d structure by freely changing the IR illumination intensity as the pores progress. In spite of the limits to the achievable shapes imposed by the electrochemical system, it is possible to create very complex structures like chirped modulations , embedded defects , etc. MPS with pores with diameters down to has been reported ; however, only straight pores have been shown, and surface quality is still low. Better pores are obtained for ; however, those are still straight. The smallest reported 3‐d MPS is about pitch .
3.3. Surface treatment and functionalization
After the MPS layer is etched, several post‐processing steps can be applied to the device. This may be of particular importance for MPS fabricated using EE. This is because the electrochemical process leaves a thin microporous silicon layer on the pores’ walls. The thickness and roughness of this microporous layer will depend on the electrolyte composition and concentration, as well as on the substrate resistivity and applied potential  (see Figure 7a). A simple way to remove this layer is to perform a short thermal oxidation of the MPS structure. The microporous layer will readily oxidize . After the oxidation step, the oxidized PS layer can be removed by dipping the MPS structure in an solution, leaving a very smooth and defect free surface on the walls of the pores. The so‐prepared surface can be further processed, for instance to create high‐quality oxide layers, as seen in Figure 7b.
This oxidation‐oxide removal cycle can be repeated several times in order to create enlarged, cylindrical pores.7 The actual pore cross‐sectional shape obtained with EE is not perfectly cylindrical and depends on potential applied and other factors .
The actual pore cross‐sectional shape obtained with EE is not perfectly cylindrical and depends on potential applied and other factors .
The increased available surface in MPS has been of interest for sensors. To improve the adsorption of species on the surface or the sensitivity of the device, several surface functionalization approaches have been proposed. For instance, carbonization of the PS structure helps in passivating and stabilizing the porous layer better than oxidation  or to avoid oxidation altogether. This is of particular interest for photoluminescence applications  and humidity sensors . Other surface treatments have been proposed depending on the application. For example, using the atomic‐layer deposition (ALD) method, it is possible to cover the walls of a MPS structure conformally with materials such as alumina (), titania () or tantalum oxide (), which have applications in sensing devices  and electronic devices . Other surface treatments of great interest for energy applications or chemical reactors are the deposition of nanoporous materials like zeolites  and catalysts like cobalt, platinum or palladium [12, 16].
3.4. Porous membranes
Certain applications require the passage or filtering of a fluid. Other applications seek that the passing fluids undergo certain chemical reactions. In either case, having a very large surface is beneficial. The main advantages are the fast mass and heat transfer, the short diffusion length and pressure drop, and the precise control of the process, resulting in higher product yields (for chemical reactors) and increased efficiency . For this application, MPS has been proposed as a better alternative to common monoliths used in catalysis . MPS membranes have also been suggested as ratchets  for physically selecting particles. Membranes have also been found useful for microfluidics  and for electrodeposition inside the pores.
The fabrication of the MPS membranes can be done by dissolving the remaining silicon bulk on the backside after the electrochemical etching of the pores. A common technique is to use alkaline anisotropic etchants typical in MEMS processing : potassium hydroxide () and tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH). The membrane is formed when the removed silicon reaches the pore tips. When performing such process, it is necessary to protect the porous volume, as it will etch much faster than the silicon bulk. Furthermore, it may be interesting to selectively etch the MPS structure to reveal only part of the pores. For this reason, first a protective layer must be prepared on the structure surface. This can be accomplished by oxidation of the MPS sample. This protective layer must have a minimum thickness: the dissolution process is not perfectly uniform, leaving a roughened surface . Therefore, in some places, the pore tips will be uncovered earlier. The protective layer must be thick enough to withstand until the full membrane is finished, otherwise the etchant will leak and rapidly dissolve the porous volume.
This process has to be carefully monitored to avoid overetching and the destruction of the protective layer. In this regard, TMAH has a greater ‐ selectivity , therefore making this process more robust. The actual method employed for the membrane fabrication will ultimately depend on any further processing and application of the MPS device. In particular, may not be suitable if there are posterior high‐temperature steps or the process flow has to be CMOS compatible.
3.4.1. In situ
As an alternative to alkaline etching of silicon, there is the possibility to create the membrane during the electrochemical pore growth phase. Two approaches are possible: entering the electropolishing regime during EE , and creating a sacrificial PS layer at the bottom . The latter approach has been successfully applied for MEMS devices where the sacrificial micro‐PS is formed underneath the actual device, such as cantilevers , thermal actuators  or sensing devices . After the micro‐PS is formed, the devices are released by dissolving this porous volume . This can be done with a sufficiently diluted etchant or with plasma. Alternatively, one can oxidize the PS and then remove the oxide by an dip [50, 54]. This method can be also applied to MPS structures by a double‐layer technique: first etching the macroporous volume and afterwards evolving the micro‐PS beneath the macropores . This may require changing the solution between etching phases.
The fabrication of an in situ membrane using the electropolishing regime is very similar to the sacrificial method. As in the previous method, it can be applied for both micro‐PS and MPS. In this case, only the current density (and potential if necessary) is increased above the threshold . This will promote the electropolishing of silicon at the pore tip depth and can be performed for an extended period of time to completely detach the MPS membrane from the substrate  (see Figure 9). For very high AR structures, it is important to take into account the acid concentration and the diffusion of reactants at the pore ends .
3.5. Pore filling
Conformal coating of the high AR structures present in MPS is often straightforward. Several techniques common in microfabrication are available for the task (e.g. ALD) . However, the complete filling of such structures can be more difficult. Such methods can be very slow to fully fill the pore volume or have conformality issues for very thick depositions. An alternative method to fill the pores is to use either
Electroless deposition and electrodeposition are commonly used to deposit metals, though these processes are not limited to those materials. Copper is typically used in VLSI microfabrication. However, easily diffuses through and , and it has poor adhesion to dielectrics like . Noble metals can also be deposited by these means, for example gold; however, this would result in exceptionally expensive devices as the total volume of a MPS structure is large. Some good candidates for pore filling are nickel and aluminium. Aluminium plating would be the preferred material for an industrial process; however, plating is more complex (non‐aqueous solution ) and has higher safety risks (inflammable or explosive products). On the other hand, nickel plating is simple and well known in industry, both electroless and electrodeposition. A MPS structure can be directly plated without further processing: will deposit along the walls of the pores and exposed surface. However, for high AR pores, the deposition can be non‐uniform, resulting in early pore closing and leaving voids inside the filling . A way to avoid such issues is to use MPS membranes. Open membranes allow the passage of the electrolyte, thus reducing concentration gradients. Electrode size and electrolyte are also important for uniformity of the deposition.
Focusing in electroplating, a typical plating bath is a dissolution of nickel sulphamate, nickel chloride and boric acid for pH correction. This plating solution is used at about . The resulting surface is a smooth, matte finish deposit. In particular, in the work of Vega et al. , this technique was used to fill MPS membranes as seen in Figure 10. The membranes were initially oxidized, and a metal evaporation was performed on one of the sides (the front face was used due to the better, smooth, surface). The so‐prepared membrane was contacted on the metal face and afterwards insulated to avoid deposition on this face. The sample was submerged in the plating solution with the free face looking the counterelectrode, and the plating was performed at a mean current of . Deposition speed varied linearly with current, but the open surface (total pore area) determined the actual speed and had to be calibrated for each different MPS structure. The electrodeposits can be performed both with DC current and with pulsed current. As the silicon structure is protected by an insulating layer of silicon dioxide, only deposits on the advancing front inside the pores. This results in a smooth and void‐free pore filling as seen in Figure 10.
4. Applications of macroporous silicon
In this section, a brief description of a selection of the non‐photonic applications of MPS will be presented. In particular, applications in the electronic devices and MEMS fields will be examined. However, bear in mind that MPS can be applied to a very broad range of fields, only some applications can be introduced here.
4.1. Field effect transistors
Power applications either demand operating at high voltages, high currents or both. In power MOS‐FET devices, the gate oxide thickness determines the maximum potential the transistor can withstand (in the absence of a drift region). However, thick oxides will increase the threshold voltage, . Furthermore, MOS transistors have a negative thermal coefficient, therefore for high currents, on‐resistance, , will increase and thus limit the maximum current. In this situation, a large number of devices connected in parallel may be necessary to handle the demanded current density.
In these circumstances, power MOS structures evolved to
MPS provides an alternative to simplify the fabrication of trench FET transistors. Basically, the aim is to take advantage of the ease to obtain a large number of pores or trenches. EE of silicon provides a material with a controllable density of pores, which can be arranged freely (under certain constraints), and with a profile, which can be further adjusted to meet the device performance goals. The pores can subsequently be coated or filled by appropriate means (e.g. chemical vapor deposition (CVD) or thermal oxidation) to make either the gate or the channel of the device. Overall, the obtained structure is simpler and easier to fabricate, thanks to the reduced number of processing steps required. In Ref. , the suitability of such MPS structures was studied theoretically.
According to the definition of the channel region, two kinds of devices can be distinguished: vertical structures are those whose channel corresponds to the pore volume, while the gate is formed by the MPS surrounding material; and horizontal devices are those with the roles reversed, that is the channel is the MPS bulk material, while the pore volume constitutes the gate. Thus, carrier flow takes place in the pores for the vertical devices and through the MPS substrate for the horizontal devices.
Using ordered MPS, some of the proposed FET have the configurations shown in Figure 12: vertical J‐FET and MOS‐FET, and horizontal J‐FET and insulated gate (IG) J‐FET.8 As will be shown, it can operate with both positive and negative , and thus is also referred as
As will be shown, it can operate with both positive and negative , and thus is also referred as
After preparing the MPS supporting structure, the pores are filled. For the vertical structures, a CVD process may be performed to fill the pores with a semiconductor, such as silicon, of the desired doping. In contrast, for the horizontal ones, this step is not as critical. To form the gate, one can either choose a CVD process to coat with a relatively thin film of conducting or semiconducting material, or, alternatively, use an electrodeposition method, such as the one described in section
From the work in Ref. , it can be seen that the overall specific on‐resistance, is comparable to that of more complex trench and SJ devices. It can be noticed that J‐FET devices have larger but this is to be expected as it solely depends on the channel resistivity, whereas MOS devices operate in strong inversion. Reducing the drift region (particularly for J‐FET devices) and exploring alternative pore profiles may help in reducing . Regarding the breakdown voltage of the devices, it was found that for all of them it was around . The electric field distribution revealed that this was caused mainly by the sharp edges found near the gate‐drain region. The obtained results are similar to those other found in literature (with no drift region for high‐voltage operation). Nevertheless, a higher breakdown voltage can be obtained by adding a drift region and physically separating the gate from the drain, at the cost of a more complex fabrication process.
A summary of the device characteristics from Ref.  is given in Table 1. One of the most notable characteristics is the large current densities that these devices can handle. For instance,9 The current density is calculated over the cross section of the channel.
The current density is calculated over the cross section of the channel.
Regarding the small signal behaviour of the devices, the obtained results show that individual cell devices have moderate capacitance. Though these devices may be unsuitable for their use in signal applications, they are satisfactory for fast switching of loads in power applications.
MPS has also been shown to be applicable for energy storage since the beginnings of its research, see, for example, the work by Lehmann  or IBM . The purpose of using MPS for capacitors is twofold: on one hand, there is the need of large capacitance devices for energy storage ; on the other hand, there is a drive towards higher integration, be it for cost and space savings or for efficiency reasons .
To fabricate high‐capacity devices using MPS, one takes advantage of the greatly enlarged available surface area. Basically, there are few ways to increase capacity: electrochemical means (Helmholtz double layer or chemical energy storage10 The former case would apply to capacitors, while the latter case would be for batteries. Modern implementations of such capacitors having
The former case would apply to capacitors, while the latter case would be for batteries.
Modern implementations of such capacitors having
Having a thinner insulating layer between the capacitor plates will help increase the capacitance of the device. However, care must be exercised as leakage currents will increase substantially due to direct tunnelling for thin insulators . Furthermore, a thinner insulating layer will also affect the maximum operating voltage. Finally, to maximize capacitance, the effective plate area can be extended without increasing the footprint of the device. To achieve such goal, advanced devices have intricate surface shapes that extend into the volume of the capacitor plates [18, 61, 62, 69].
The use of PS in its various forms for high‐value capacitor devices can be traced back to the early development of PS. MPS was first suggested for its use as capacitors with the work from Lehmann , and since then, the industry has shown interest in the research and development of high‐value capacitors based on this material [61, 70]. The techniques used to build the MPS structures of the capacitors have been both PECE [61, 71] and RIE [70, 71]. The pores of MPS give an enlarged surface to create the plates of the capacitor device. Pores may be arranged randomly or in a pattern. Random MPS is simpler to fabricate, and capacitor devices with have been reported in Ref. . However, using random MPS will result in uneven current distribution, and sharp edges where the electric field will concentrate and possibly break the dielectric. Furthermore, if the devices are to be defined in specific zones, a mask is needed nonetheless, so not using a patterned pore array is less justified. The use of ordered MPS requires a more complex fabrication flow; however, it has the advantage of being well defined, so final capacitance can be accurately calculated and obtained, plus giving control over the actual shape of the pores.
MPS‐based capacitors use the porous substrate as one of the plates, so the other electrode must be deposited over the substrate. Plates can be arranged in several ways. For instance, it is possible to deposit a single layer to create a two‐plate capacitor [18, 69], or to use a multiple layer approach, stacking several dielectric‐conductor coatings to create a MIM‐like capacitor. In the work by Klootwijk , the MIMIMIM stack depicted in Figure 13 results in a very large capacitance density device, with a specific capacitance . However, its performance is lower than expected, see Table 2. Using multilayer stacking greatly complicates the fabrication process, so the simpler approach of a two‐plate capacitor may be desirable. In Table 2, a summary of the state‐of‐the‐art supercapacitors based on MPS is given.
Once the MPS is etched, it may be necessary to perform a doping of the porous substrate. This is especially necessary in case of EE MPS as the Si substrate used has ‘low’ doping concentrations as seen in section
A common issue found in such large surface capacitors is the elevated leakage currents,12 Leakage current density is calculated considering the footprint area of the device.
Leakage current density is calculated considering the footprint area of the device.
After the dielectric layer is placed, the pores are filled to define the other plate. This can be done with nickel following the procedures described in section
Electrical characterization of the devices can be approximated by a simple RC model. As the main contributor to capacitance is due to the cylindrical pores, the capacitance value can be predicted by the formula of the cylindrical capacitor . As seen from Figure 15, the simple RC model is reasonable at low frequencies; however, the capacity is shown to be not ideal and is presumed to be due to relaxation in the dielectric interfaces .
4.3. Through silicon vias
Nowadays, the microelectronics industry is highly interested in 3‐d (monolithic) integration looking for improvements in package integration, the reduction of interconnect delays, cost savings and system scaling . Among the different technological options, through silicon vias (TSVs) and silicon interposers have been shown to be an enabling technology that has recently reached the consumer market in the form of ultra‐high‐density memory modules . The most common method for TSV fabrication found in the literature is RIE etching of the silicon to create the vias, then pore filling with copper by a dual damascene process, surface planarization, and pad definition (and repeat the process for the other side) . Pore surface roughness may impose certain complications when filling the pores , as well as pore shape has an impact on reliability by thermal cycling .
EE MPS may offer a simplified approach to TSV fabrication. The pore shape is easily controlled by the current waveform, and deep pores are effortlessly etched. The obtained surfaces can be made smooth by a short oxidation and oxide stripping (see
For biomedical applications, microfabrication of miniaturized complete analysis platforms (lab‐on‐a‐chip) is being vigorously researched . In particular, the extraction and injection of fluids to tissues are of great interest. Microneedles provide a way to simplify this procedure while minimizing some nuisances like pain  or risk of infection, being minimally invasive13 Microneedles are short and only penetrate the epidermis , avoiding the dermis where nerve terminations are located.
Microneedles are short and only penetrate the epidermis , avoiding the dermis where nerve terminations are located.
The first reference to MPS fabricated by EE applied for microneedles is found in the work by Rodríguez et al.  and Rajaraman . In Rodriguez et al. work, MPS is used to create arrays of microneedles with diameters ranging from to , up to in length, and wall thickness about . The process and results obtained are shown in Figure 16. The fabrication process consists of creating a MPS membrane, and once the pore tips are exposed, remove them by a rapid dip in (see Figure 16c). To create the needles, the membrane is further processed in TMAH to remove silicon from the backside (see Figure 16d). At this stage, the microneedles are prepared and just remain attaching the fluid handling fixtures. Rajaraman's work is essentially identical, though a slightly more complex process is described, as needles are formed in the front face.
A similar approach is followed by Barillaro and his group . In this case, instead of forming the needles by removing silicon from the backside, they use the back‐face membrane cavity to create a reservoir and subsequently etch the frontside to create the needles. Furthermore, Barillaro et al. conducted skin penetration tests showing that wall thick can withstand repeated skin insertion without breaking. Other studies confirm these findings and show that microneedles require less force for effective penetration .
Besides hollow microneedles as the ones previously described, MPS has also been used to create high AR pillars . Basically, the fabrication process is the same as for the microneedles, described earlier (see Figure 16), but stops after the membrane creation. The released pillars can be further used for sensing applications, drug delivery by coating the pillars , skin pre‐perforation  or microreactors .
Microneedles can also be applied to other uses in addition to biomedicine. For example, for inkjet printing , micronozzles have been shown to be able to print extremely fine detail lines.
4.5. Other MEMS devices
MPS technology can be adapted for the fabrication of complex shapes and structures with uses in other MEMS applications. For example, EE micromachining has been proposed as way for fabrication of embedded heat sinks . The idea is to create a free‐standing MPS structure by in situ membrane etching and later filling the porosified volume with copper by electrodeposition. Thanks to the higher thermal conductivity of , higher efficiency in thermal dissipation can be achieved for dense VLSI circuits.
However, it is in microfluidics and lab‐on‐chip applications that MPS is most interesting. Pore diameter can be modulated and adjusted for filtering applications [46, 54], such that using the appropriate pore size one can selectively allow the passage of particles or biological species. Furthermore, the device can easily be protected against harsh environments by oxidation or other surface treatment. Particular mention must be made to the work of Barillaro's group . Some outstanding examples are a capillarity‐driven (self‐powered) microfluidic system based on MPS  and a MPS microstructures for label‐free optical detection of cells .
This review has shown several applications of macroporous silicon to a wide range of fields, besides the optical and photonic, that are also of utmost relevance. In particular, it has been shown that MPS has many uses the fabrication of electronic devices, such as in energy storage (supercapacitors). Other important areas of application of MPS are microfluidics and lab‐on‐a‐chip, where the freedom in structure micromachining allows creating complex structures capable of being integrated in a complete sensing platform. The use of MPS has helped to improve existing devices and has allowed to develop new ones. Also, MPS has been applied in MEMS device fabrication. The applications of MPS represent a vast field that is still in active development.
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- Silicon dissolution in HF is a thermodynamically favourable process; however, the dissolution rate is very small: RSi=2.5 × 1023 cm−2 s−1 (about 0.3 Å/min) at room temperature .
- It must be noted that electrochemical etching is one possible method to obtain porous silicon. A different technique is stain etching. This is a purely chemical method based on the chemistry of silicon in HF−HNO3 mixtures, which also produces PS. See for example .
- An exposition of the different methods for PC fabrication and their possibilities can be seen in Ref. .
- For a general treatment on the subject, see Ref. .
- ‘Aspect ratio’ is defined as the ratio between the pore width over the pore length.
- Some attempts have been made into creation of 3‐d PCs exploiting the scalloping effect of RIE; however, progress has been slow .
- The actual pore cross‐sectional shape obtained with EE is not perfectly cylindrical and depends on potential applied and other factors .
- As will be shown, it can operate with both positive and negative VGS, and thus is also referred as enhanced J‐FET.
- The current density is calculated over the cross section of the channel.
- The former case would apply to capacitors, while the latter case would be for batteries.
- Modern implementations of such capacitors having activated carbon as electrodes offer large gains in capacity density and are referred as electric double‐layer capacitors (EDLCs), ultracapacitors and commercially as supercapacitors.
- Leakage current density is calculated considering the footprint area of the device.
- Microneedles are short and only penetrate the epidermis , avoiding the dermis where nerve terminations are located.