Dependence of polymer surface roughening rate on deposited energy density during plasma processing

Sebastian Engelmann, Robert L. Bruce, Florian Weilnboeck, Gottlieb S. Oehrlein, Dustin Nest, David B. Graves, Cecily Andes, Eric A. Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The roughening behavior of three basic photoresist polymers (aromatic, adamantyl, adamantyl + lactone) was examined for fluorocarbon/argon plasma etch conditions. The roughening rate, defined as surface roughness introduced per depth of material etched, scales linearly with energy density deposited by the ions at the surface during processing, regardless of plasma process details. The Roughening rate after etch is uniquely determined by polymer structure and energy density. Adamantyl groups cause higher roughening rate. Addition of lactone groups increases removal rates, but leaves the roughening rate at a given energy density unaffected. We also show that sidewall roughness of etched nanostructures directly correlates to surface roughening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-489
Number of pages6
JournalPlasma Processes and Polymers
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 15 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Polymers and Plastics


  • Energy density
  • Nanofabrication
  • Photoresists
  • Plasma etching
  • Surface roughness


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