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A New Cost-Effective Engineered Substrate

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019859
Agency Tracking Number: 245309
Amount: $199,031.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 30b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001941
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-03-31
Small Business Information
1415 Bond St #155
Naperville, IL 60563-2769
United States
DUNS: 080307250
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Robert Patti
 (331) 701-7070
Business Contact
 Robert Patti
Phone: (331) 701-7070
Research Institution

Silicon-based sensors are central to particle physics experiments and particle tracking detectors. Users now demand smaller mass, higher data rate, smaller pixels, and sophisticated front-end processing. Lowering the system mass mitigates loss of information due to multiple scattering and conversions as particles traverse a vertex plane. However, the ionization signal is generally proportional to the sensor thickness. Thus, both radiation damage and the use of thinner sensors result in smaller ionization signals seen by the electronics. It is critical to develop internal amplification structures within a sensor to solve the signal to noise problem. Although LGAD (Low Gain Avalanche Diode) devices have very promising gain features, their exposure to radiation translates to increased current leakage and gain loss. Such sensitivity makes LGAD unsuitable for HEP in its current state. NHanced and SLAC National Accelerator Lab propose to develop a new process technology to fabricate LGAD devices on an engineered substrate. The substrate will have an extra-steep N+/P+ junction doping profile. This would give higher initial gain and extra margin for acceptor loss due to radiation damage. Unfortunately, no existing process technology allows implantation of a steep, sharp profile at the depth required by our application. However, we believe this could be achieved by engineering a new substrate by (1) fabricating the N+ layer on one wafer and the two P+ layers on another wafer and (2) bonding them together using a low temperature silicon-silicon bonding technology. Such technology will enable the fabrication of a new class of radiation hardened LGAD devices. In Phase I we will leverage SLAC low temperature microwave annealing technology (MWA) to develop a low-temperature, low-cost manufacturable Si-Si bonding process. We believe this technology will provide enough kinetic energy to the silicon dislocations to recrystallize the lattice at the bonding interface. We intend to develop the bonding technology through multiple blank wafer bonding trials. We will target a Si-Si bonding energy greater than 1.5J/m2. We will demonstrate our technology by (1) fabricating a P-I-N diode pixel arrays sensor prototype on and engineered wafer, (2) bump-bonding the prototype to an existing ePix ROIC, and (3) performing functional radiation testing to validate performance.The anticipated low-temperature Si-Si bonding technology will be relevant to HEP/LEP for particle trackers, particle physics experiments, and commercial applications such as digital X-rays and PET scanners. It is also a completely new paradigm for building 3D heterogeneous monolithic wafers, enabling new applications because of lower cost, easier manufacturing, and potentially new hybridized 3D devices.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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