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Quantum Electronics

Etching Systems

The patterning of metallic and insulating layers with dimensions in the micro- and submicrometer regime is mainly done by dry etching processes.

Reactive Ion Etching

In a high frequency, low pressure plasma of a suitable gas, e.g. CF4, reactive ions are generated and accelerated onto the etched layer. The reactive ions produce a volatile etching product by chemical reactions with the etched material. By variation of the plasma parameters pressure and rf-power anisotropic and isotropic etching characteristics can be adjusted.

System for reactive ion etching

Ion Beam Milling

A homogeneous ion beam is generated by a suitable ion beam source and directed onto the etched sample. The use of ions from an inert gas, e.g. Argon, results in a physical etching process. Ion beam milling can be used to pattern arbitrary layer systems, because there is no need for chemical reactions.

Photo of an ion beam milling system