Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

James A. Lott, PhD


This thesis studies selective etching techniques for the development of AlxGa1-xAs micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems (MOEMS). New MEMS technology based on materials such as AlxGa1-xAs enables the development of micro-systems with embedded active micro-optical devices. Tunable micro-lasers and optical switching based on MOEMS technology will improve future wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) systems. WDM vastly increases the speed of military communications and sensor data processing. From my designs, structures are prepared by molecular beam epitaxy. I design a mask set for studies of crystal plane selectivity. I perform a series of experiments on the selective removal of GaAs and AlAs. I convert AlAs and Al0.98Ga0.02As layers within the test structures to AlOx and Al0.98Ga0.02Ox and perform selective etching experiments on these sacrificial oxide layers. The etchants and materials studied showed high selectivity for removal of all materials studied. Results suggest that any of these material layers are useful as sacrificial layers for general MOEMS technology. I design, fabricate, and characterize prototype III-V MOEMS. Using AlOx sacrificial layers, I investigate a new technique for transplanting microcavity light-emitting devices. I successfully transplant arrays of light-emitting diodes. Finally, I discuss ideas on how this work forms the basis for nano-electro-mechanical systems (NEMS) fabrication in III-V materials.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number