Plasma Etching and RIE: Fundamentals and Applications

The first day of this course covers plasma-assisted etching phenomena and equipment in a manner that will assist the attendee in understanding and developing plasma etching and RIE processes. The emphasis will be on the fundamental physical and chemical processes that determine the consequences of a reactive gas plasma/surface interaction. The role of energetic ions as encountered in RIE systems and the factors that influence anisotropy of etching will be described. Many kinds of plasma-assisted etching equipment will be discussed, including capacitively coupled, inductively coupled, and wave-generated plasma sources.

The second day of this course covers the applied aspects of plasma-assisted etching. Emphasis will be on mechanistic understanding as opposed to specific processing issues, recipes, and problems. The etching of Si and its compounds will be covered in detail as well as the etching of other technology-related materials such as Al, organics, III-V compounds, etc. Topics such as selectivity, loading, ARDE, damage, and issues associated with high-density plasma RIE will be covered. A section on plasma diagnostics will focus on optical emission spectroscopy with actinometry, mass spectrometry, and laser-induced fluorescence.

This and all other courses are offered as On Site Training


    The Fundamentals
  • Know the basic concepts of plasma etching
  • Understand the physics of RF glow discharges (both high and low density)
  • Understand the surface science aspects of reactive ion etching (RIE) including the role of energetic ions.
  • Learn about plasma-surface chemistry leading to etching
  • Recognize the factors that influence etching anisotropy
  • Understand the importance of reactor walls
    Applied Aspects
  • Know fluorocarbon plasma etching of Si and its compounds
  • Selectivity, loading effects, aspect ratio dependent etching
  • Uniformity of etching, damage, feature charging issues, particles
  • Etching of other materials (Al, organics, III-V compounds, etc)
  • Understand selectivity, loading effects, ARDE, uniformity, damage, feature charging, particles, wall reactions, etc.
  • Become familiar with plasma diagnostics
  • Ion Beam-based methods


  • Scientists
  • Technicians
  • Others working with or interested in the dry etching of materials in reactive gas glow discharges, particularly those who do not have extensive experience in the field.

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