Optimization of GaAs ECR etching in chemically assisted ion beam process using Cl2/Ar plasma

S. F. Yoon*, T. K. Ng, H. Q. Zheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A study to characterize and optimize the GaAs etching by Cl2/Ar electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) plasma is reported. Etching characteristics such as smooth surface morphology and vertical sidewall are the focus of this work. In the first group of experiment (group A), the temperature, process pressure, microwave power, and RF power were varied to observe the etch rate of the GaAs substrate. Though the surface was generally rough, starting conditions for the second group of experiments (group B), were inferred from group A experiments. In group B experiments, the DC self-bias (produced from the RF power) and the Cl2 as well as Ar flow rates were varied. Crystallographic sidewall profile (orientation-dependent etching phenomenon) was obtained under conditions of <|40| V DC self-bias (75 W RF power), 120 °C, Cl2 and Ar total flow rate of 50 sccm, 10 mTorr pressure and 600 W microwave power. The crystallographic sidewall has vertical planes and inward-sloped planes in perpendicular directions. The vertical plane was parallel to (0 1 1̄) while the inward-sloped plane was originally parallel to (0 1 1) before plasma etching. Vertical sidewall and smooth surface were achieved at a DC bias of |70| V, 120 °C, and Cl2 and Ar flow rates of 10 and 40 sccm, respectively, and these were considered as optimized conditions under the present circumstances. The root-mean-square (RMS) surface roughness associated with the vertical sidewall profile was 3.6 nm, and the etch rate of GaAs was approximately 40 nm/s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-213
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Science in Semiconductor Processing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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