The quest to sculpture materials as small and deep as possible is an ongoing topic in micro- and nanofabrication. For this, the Bosch process has been widely used to achieve anisotropic silicon microstructures with high aspect ratio. Reactive ion etching (RIE) lag is a phenomenon in which etch rate depends on the opening areas of patterns, aspect ratio of the trenches and other geometrical factors. The lag not only gives a non-uniform distribution of scallop size, but it also sets a limit for the maximum achievable aspect ratio. The latter since the mask suffers from persistent erosion. While different kinds of hard masks have been suggested to ensure a longer total etch time, here we report a correctly tuned 3-steps Bosch process – called DREM (Deposit, Remove, Etch, Multistep) – without mask erosion. The erosion-free feature is independent of the type of mask. For example, an aspect ratio of more than 50 is achieved for trenches with 1μm linewidths, while no erosion is observed for 360nm thin standard photoresists. The mechanism behind this extraordinary infinite selectivity is mainly due to the depletion of C4F8 deposition species. Furthermore, a linear ramping of the etch step duration is performed to achieve a uniform distribution of scallop sizes along the etch profile. This outperforms the usual broad scallop size distribution when no parameter ramping is performed and improves the straightness of the etch profile considerably, in addition, it allows an easier way to control periodic sidewall shaping. e.g., a sausage-chain-like feature is demonstrated with an almost perfect periodicity.
Microelectronic Engineering – Elsevier
Published: May 5, 2018
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