Plasma Etching and RIE: Fundamentals and Applications


8:30am-4:30pm, Monday and Tuesday, May 6-7, 2024, Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel, Albuquerque, NM

Course Objectives

The Fundamentals

  • Know the basic concepts of plasma etching.
  • Understand the physics of RF glow discharges (both high and low density).
  • Understand the surface science aspects of reactive ion etching (RIE).
  • Learn about plasma-surface chemistry leading to etching.
  • Recognize the factors that influence etching anisotropy.

Applied Aspects

  • Know fluorocarbon plasma etching of Si and its compounds.
  • Learn about etching of Al, organics, III-V compounds, etc.
  • Understand selectivity, loading effects, ARDE, uniformity, damage, feature charging, particles, wall reactions, etc.
  • Become familiar with plasma diagnostics.

Course Description:

The first day of this course covers plasma-assisted etching phenomena and equipment in a manner that will assist the attendee in understanding and developing plasma etching and RIE processes. The emphasis will be on the fundamental physical and chemical processes that determine the consequences of a reactive gas plasma/surface interaction. The role of energetic ions as encountered in RIE systems and the factors that influence anisotropy of etching will be described. Many kinds of plasma-assisted etching equipment will be discussed, including capacitively coupled, inductively coupled, and wave-generated plasma sources.

The second day of this course covers the applied aspects of plasma-assisted etching. Emphasis will be on mechanistic understanding as opposed to specific processing issues, recipes, and problems. The etching of Si and its compounds will be covered in detail as well as the etching of other technology-related materials such as Al, organics, III-V compounds, etc. Topics such as selectivity, loading, ARDE, damage, and issues associated with high-density plasma RIE will be covered. A section on plasma diagnostics will focus on optical emission spectroscopy with actinometry, mass spectrometry, and laser-induced fluorescence.

Who Should Attend?

Scientists, technicians, and others working with or interested in the dry etching of materials in reactive gas glow discharges, particularly those who do not have extensive experience in the field.

Instructor: Randy J Shul

Randy J. Shul retired from Sandia National Laboratories in 2022 after 30 years of service. Over his career, his interests included Si micromachining for MEMS, integrated microsystems, sensors, and advanced packaging technologies; plasma etch process development for the wide-bandgap group-III nitrides; development of high-density, low-damage plasma etch processes for advanced compound semiconductor devices; and failure analysis of state-of-the-art integrated circuits using advanced ion and electron beam microscopy. Previously, he worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories where he was responsible for plasma process development for the fabrication of GaAs digital integrated circuits. Randy earned a B.A. in Chemistry in 1981 from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University in 1987.  He is the author or co-author of over 225 journal publications, eight book chapters, and has 19 patents.  He has been a member of the AVS since 1988 and was elected Fellow of the Society in 2023.  He served as NMAVS Symposium Chair in 1995, Vice Chair in 1996, Chair in 1997, and served as Chapter Secretary for several years.  He was also technical program Vice Chair for the national AVS meeting in 2000.

Course Materials

Course notes

Cost (2-day): $1120  (Full time university student: $200)
Cost (1-day):  $790 (Full time university student: $100)

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