The Influence of diffusion of fluorine compounds for silicon lateral etching

Verdonck, Partick; Goodyear, Alec and Braithwaite, Nicholas St John (2004). The Influence of diffusion of fluorine compounds for silicon lateral etching. Thin Solid Films, 459(1-2) pp. 141–144.



In an earlier study, it was proposed that long-range surface transport of fluorine atoms could precede the eventual binding to a silicon atom. The rate of binding increases if the silicon is bombarded with high energy ions. In this study, the lateral etching of a silicon layer, sandwiched between two silicon dioxide layers, was studied in order to investigate and extend these hypotheses. The under etching of the silicon layer was higher for wafers which suffered ion bombardment, showing that this mechanism is important even for horizontal etching. At the same time, the thickness of the silicon layer was varied. In all cases, the thinner silicon layer etched much faster then the thicker layer, indicating that fluorine surface transport is much more important than re-emission for these processes. The etch rate increase with ion bombardment can be explained by the fact that part of the energy of the incoming ions is transferred to the fluorine compounds which are on the horizontal surfaces and that ion bombardment enhances the fluorine surface transport.

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