Direct wafer bonding requires the surfaces to have low surface roughness (R-a < 0.5 nm) as well as to be free of any particles or contaminants. Meeting these requirements for wafers patterned with lithography and dry etching presents a serious problem in terms of removal of photoresist residue and etch-related particles, which would require expensive additional equipment to be removed. In this study, we propose the use of chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) to be performed after all lithography and dry etch process steps involving several masks are completed. To reduce the adverse effect of any remaining slurry that might reside in the etched structures, we also propose to reduce the maximum annealing temperature from 550 degrees C down to 300 degrees C. The effect of lower annealing temperature on bonding is compensated using a sequential plasma activation with 60 s of O-2 followed by 90 s of N-2 on contacting surfaces made of silicon dioxide to achieve successful wafer bonding. Initial plasma activation with O-2 additionally serves as a final cleaning step whereas the following activation with N-2 for an extended duration is to fully activate the surface for direct bonding. This proposed technique can motivate the use of direct wafer bonding for microfabrication of advanced MEMS devices. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.