Faster and exact implementation of the continuous cellular automaton for anisotropic etching simulations

Autores UPV
Revista Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering


The current success of the continuous cellular automata for the simulation of anisotropic wet chemical etching of silicon in microengineering applications is based on a relatively fast, approximate, constant time stepping implementation (CTS), whose accuracy against the exact algorithm-a computationally slow, variable time stepping implementation (VTS)-has not been previously analyzed in detail. In this study we show that the CTS implementation can generate moderately wrong etch rates and overall etching fronts, thus justifying the presentation of a novel, exact reformulation of the VTS implementation based on a new state variable, referred to as the predicted removal time (PRT), and the use of a self-balanced binary search tree that enables storage and efficient access to the PRT values in each time step in order to quickly remove the corresponding surface atom/s. The proposed PRT method reduces the simulation cost of the exact implementation from O(N 5/3) to O(N 3/2 log N) without introducing any model simplifications. This enables more precise simulations (only limited by numerical precision errors) with affordable computational times that are similar to the less precise CTS implementation and even faster for low reactivity systems. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd.