The use of SF6 as a Plasma Processing Gas

  • B. N. Ganguly
  • J. D. Scofield
  • P. Bletzinger


Power electronics and high temperature operation capable micro electro mechanical (MEM) device fabrication, using wide bandgap semiconductors, require development of plasma processing tools where both ion energy and radical fluxes can be controlled to obtain reasonable etch rates with minimal surface damage. Recent work indicates that reactive ion etching (RIE) process optimization can be achieved primarily through a consideration of plasma electrical properties [1,2], which may lead to improved material removal performance. The concept involves modifying the electronegative character of strongly attaching etchant gas discharges through dilution with an electropositive gas species such as Ar, N2, or even a weakly electronegative gas such as O2. This gas mixture changes the radio frequency (RF) current-voltage (I-V) phase shift from a capacitive maximum of -90° to a value in the range of -45°, corresponding to the transition from sheath to bulk dominated discharge regimes. The changes in I-V phase shifts increase power deposition efficiency in the plasma, which leads to a greater production of the ions and radicals required for material removal. The optimal discharge condition is a function of pressure, fractional dilution, and electronegativity of the total gas mixture. Several authors have demonstrated various aspects of this phenomenon [3-6]. However, Sobolowski, Langan, and Felker [1], and Langan et. al.[2] have conclusively correlated RF electrical measurements with optical emission data and dielectric (SiN, SiO2) etch rates for NF3, CF4, and C2F6 diluted with Ar, He, O2, N2, and N2O. Based upon their observations, and simple models of the bulk and sheath regions of a parallel plate RF discharge, they proposed this RIE discharge optimization scheme to be generic in nature and applicable to any RF discharge utilizing electronegative gases.


Radio Frequency Etch Rate Radio Frequency Discharge Radical Flux Fractional Dilution 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. N. Ganguly
    • 1
  • J. D. Scofield
    • 1
  • P. Bletzinger
    • 2
  1. 1.Wright-Patterson AFBAir Force Research LaboratoryUSA
  2. 2.ISSIBeavercreekUSA

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