Interest in atomic layer etching (ALE) has surged recently because it offers several advantages over continuous or quasicontinuous plasma etching. These benefits include (1) independent control of ion energy, ion flux, and radical flux, (2) flux-independent etch rate that mitigates the iso-dense loading effects, and (3) ability to control the etch rate with atomic or nanoscale precision. In addition to these benefits, we demonstrate an area-selective etching for maskless lithography as a new frontier of ALE. In this paper, area-selective etching refers to the confinement of etching into the specific areas of the substrate. The concept of area-selective etching originated during our studies on quasi-ALE of silicon nitride which consists of sequential exposure of silicon nitride to hydrogen and fluorinated plasma. The findings of our studies reported in this paper suggest that it may be possible to confine the etching into specific areas of silicon nitride without using any mask by replacing conventional hydrogen plasma with a localized source of hydrogen ions.
Sonam D. Sherpa and Alok Ranjan, "New frontiers of atomic layer etching," Proc. SPIE 10589, Advanced Etch Technology for Nanopatterning VII, 1058909 (Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography: February 27, 2018; Published: 20 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2284662.
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