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Location Bay 2
Tool Type Dry Etch
Manufacturer Materials Research Corporation (MRC)
Description RIE #2 Methane/Hydrogen-Based System

Primary Supervisor Lee Sawyer
(805) 893-2123

Secondary Supervisor

Aidan Hopkins

Recipes Dry Etch Recipes

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This is a Materials Research Corporation RIE-51 parallel plate, 13.56 Mhz system used primarily for the etching of InP with CH4/H2/Ar gases, although it can be used to etch As- and Sb-based III-V compounds and a variety of II-VI semiconductors as well. For Al-containing compounds and II-VI compounds, high bias power is required. Tool features include: six inch diameter water cooled cathode/substrate platform, pyrex cylinder for plasma confinement and gas flow control, adjustable cathode-anode spacing, fixed bias or power control and HeNe laser etch monitor with chart recorder. It is diffusion pumped and has no loadlock. Various etching applications have included: in-plane lasers/facets, InP-based HBTs, FET gate recessing, InP-based quantum microcavities, Bragg-Fresnel x-ray lenses and waveguides.

RIE of InP and related compounds can be achieved with a hydride-based process chemistry of methane/hydrogen with an etching mechanism due to a "reverse" metalorganic CVD reaction. Because both etching and deposition occur simultaneously, it is important to use the proper gas flows and to periodically remove any polymer reaction by-products deposited on the non-etched (mask) surfaces. (This system has an additional flow circuit in order to bleed in small amounts, <1 sccm, of O2). Alternatively, one can perform cyclic etching between MHA and O2 to keep polymer formation to a minimum. With this technique selectivity is quite high and anisotropic etching can be achieved. While a metal, dielectric or photoresist may be used as a mask, photoresist should only be used at low bias voltages in order to avoid mask pattern distortions due to reflow. A precoat etch should be done before etching to condition the chamber.

Detailed Specifications

  • Etch gases include: CH4, H2, Ar and O2
  • Low 1 E -6 ultimate chamber pressure
  • 13.56 Mhz excitation frequency
  • Sample size limited to approximately 2 inches
  • HeNe and IR laser monitoring for endpoint
  • Automatic tuning network
  • DC Bias or RF power control
  • Masking materials include: Ni, SiON, photoresist (limited to low bias/power)
  • Typical etch conditions for InGaAsP:
    • 75 mT (CH4/H2/Ar : 4/20/10 sccm)
    • 450v bias
    • ~ 45 nm/min. etch rate