Surface chemistry associated with plasma etching processes

David B. Graves, David Humbird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


We present our progress towards an accurate simulation model of plasma etching of silicon. A study of the interactions of energetic argon ions with silicon surfaces using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations is reported. A dynamic balance between ion-induced damage and recrystallization of the surface is detected. By manipulating ion energy, argon ions are able to both create disordered regions near the surface, and recrystallize these disordered regions. Silicon atoms in this amorphous region are readily mixed by argon ions. Limited mixing in the crystalline layer is observed. Fluorine adsorbed on the silicon surface does not mix into the layer with argon ion impact. When an energetic F + impacts a silicon surface, the uptake and apparent sub-surface mixing of F is much greater than Ar + -induced mixing. However, a closer examination shows that the F impacts have primarily increased the Si surface area by creating crevices and cracks, and that the F remains mainly on the surface of this layer. A similar situation results when SiF 3 + impacts the surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-87
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - May 30 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


  • Ion-bombardment
  • Molecular-dynamics
  • Plasma etching
  • Silicon
  • Surface chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Surface chemistry associated with plasma etching processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this