Effects of plasma conditions on the shapes of features etched in Cl2 and HBr plasmas. I. Bulk crystalline silicon etching

M. A. Vyvoda, H. Lee, M. V. Malyshev, F. P. Klemens, M. Cerullo, V. M. Donnelly, D. B. Graves, A. Kornblit, J. T.C. Lee

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We have studied the effects of source and bias powers, pressure, and feed gas composition on the shapes of SiO2-masked crystalline silicon features etched in a transformer-coupled high density plasma system. Higher etching rates were obtained at higher source and bias powers, and higher pressure. The etching rates of isolated and nested trenches, isolated lines, and holes were nearly the same, indicating a negligible pattern density dependence. We did, however, observe a very weak decrease in etch rates with increasing aspect ratio at 2 mTorr in a pure Cl2 plasma. At 10 mTorr, no aspect ratio dependence was observed, except at the highest source and bias powers. Microtrenching was observed under certain plasma conditions and could be reduced by using higher bias powers. At 10 mTorr in a pure chlorine plasma, we observed a slight taper at the bottoms of the etched features and the formation of narrow microtrenches near feature corners. At 2 mTorr, the microtrenches were broader and overlapped near the center of narrow trenches to form pyramid-shaped trench bottoms. When a HBr plasma was used instead of Cl2, the etching rate decreased by 50% but the etching profiles were more vertical and the trench bottoms were flat. Isolated lines etched in the HBr plasma, however, revealed broad but shallow microtrenches near the edges of the line, suggesting that the flat trench bottoms were a result of broad microtrenches that overlapped. Trenches of 3 μm depth and aspect ratios of 7 have been obtained using either HBr or Cl2, exhibiting similar microfeatures as observed when etching shallower trenches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3247-3258
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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