To meet the advanced CD uniformity and resolution requirements of state-of-the-art maskmaking, dry chrome etch processing may be required. Dry etching is a more anisotropic process, significantly reducing etch undercut. The absence of undercutting allows the lithographer to image the resist at the iso-focal point, eliminating the need to underexpose to maintain CDs. Also, dry etch parameters can be precisely controlled via a microprocessor- controlled etch system with a highly accurate parameter-metering system that ensures greater process control. Using design-of-experiment methodologies, a chrome plasma etch process (using OCG-895i) was developed. This work proves the feasibility of plasma etching chromium patterns on photomasks. The results show an etch that has excellent uniformity, is anisotropic, and has excellent edge quality. Also, resist selectivity is high for the etching of thin chrome films. SEM results show a significant reduction in the bias needed to achieve nominal CDs. As with many dry etch processes, loading and microloading effects (i.e., localized pattern density effect on etch rates) are a concern. Initial investigations of loading and microloading effects were conducted. Results suggest that due to the high anisotropy of the etch, microloading is not an issue. However, plate loading (or the amount of chrome removed) increases etch times and can result in radial etch patterns. Loading effects must be minimized or eliminated to optimize etch uniformity.