TERC - Tremplin-ERC

Damageless Etching Processes – DEP

Submission summary

Etching processes are one basic step required to fabricate integrated circuits used in almost any electronic device. The improvement of circuits’ performance relies on the reduction of the thickness and dimensions of structures etched to build the circuits. With conventional plasma etching processes, ion bombardment damages the top surface of etched materials. In addition, plasma radicals diffuse in the pores of porous materials and degrade their properties. This is not acceptable anymore for nanometre-scale structures needed today. Therefore, there is a need for damageless etching processes. To address this, I propose disruptive processes that avoid ion-bombardment-induced surface modification and species diffusion in porous media, while providing anisotropic etching capabilities.

In a first concept I call Chemically Assisted Gas Cluster Ion Beam Etching (CAGCIBE), I propose to use bombardment by gas cluster ions in combination with a reactive gas. Gas cluster ions are known to provide minimal surface damage. Thanks to the chemical assistance from the reactive gas, I intend to benefit from the damage minimisation while keeping acceptable etch rate and pattern profile control.

The second concept I call Capillary Condensation Assisted Ion Beam Etching (CCAIBE) consists in condensing a reactive gas in the pores of a porous material to (1) block other species diffusion and (2) provide chemically reactive species for the etching. In combination with inert ion bombardment, I expect to control the etched profile while preventing plasma-induced damage.

The success of this project will benefit to the semiconductor industry that craves for damageless etching processes, but also any field where electronic devices are used. Besides, damageless etching processes will enable other devices fabrications such as high efficiency solar cells, power transistors, micro/nano electro mechanical systems and integrated sensors. Scientific results will benefit many research fields.

Project coordination

Maxime Darnon (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Help of the ANR 169,999 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: April 2017 - 24 Months

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