[[abstract]]Three ion-typed surfactants, including anionic SDSS, cationic ASPEG and non-ionic PEG, which are powerful wetting agents in electroforming, were added to 30 wt.% KOH and 10 wt.% TMAH solutions to evaluate the silicon anisotropic etching properties of the (1 0 0) silicon plane without agitation and no IPA additive. The results indicate that the surfactant ion-types are not the main determinants of the silicon anisotropic etching properties in KOH and TMAH solutions. The wetting capacity of the etchants causes the efficacies of the etchants on the roughness to follow the order anionic SDSS, cationic ASPEG, non-ionic PEG and pure solution in KOH solutions, and the order cationic ASPEG, non-ionic PEG, pure solution and anionic SDSS in TMAH solutions, especially at higher etching temperatures. Moreover, the chemical activities of etchants differ so that the etching rates follow the order anionic SDSS, pure solution, non-ionic PEG and cationic ASPEG in KOH solutions, and the order anionic SDSS, pure solution, cationic ASPEG and non-ionic PEG in TMAH solutions at a given etching temperature. Anionic SDSS has the highest etching rate of 5.4 μm/min and the lowest surface roughness of 7.5 nm, which are about 1.69 times higher and 7.87 times lower, respectively, than those obtained in pure KOH solution. The cationic ASPEG has a reasonable etching rate of 0.7 μm/min and the lowest surface roughness of 4 nm in TMAH solutions for etching temperature of 100 °C. Furthermore, the surfactants used here were demonstrated to allow the utilization of usual mask materials and anionic SDSS can even increase the selectivity of silicon dissolution toward silicon dioxide in KOH solutions. A drastic reduction of the undercutting of the convex corners is obtained in TMAH solutions with non-ionic PEG surfactant. This finding reveals that the addition of non-ionic PEG to TMAH solutions is ideal when accurate profiles are required without extremely deep etching.
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