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Etch is a process that removes materials from a wafer surface to achieve the requirements of IC design. There are two types of etch processes: pattern and blanket. Pattern etch selectively removes materials from designated areas and transfers the patterns of the photoresist or hard mask on the wafer surface to films underneath. Blanket etch removes all or part of the film on the surface to achieve the desired processing results. This chapter covers both etch processes, with an emphasis on pattern etch. First in the MOSFET gate patterning process, a photolithography process with gate mask defines the photoresist pattern on the polysilicon film on the wafer surface. A pattern etch process transfers the pattern of the photoresist to polysilicon film underneath.
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