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- substrate type and size
- film stack
- etch depth/profile desired
Xenon Difluoride (XeF2) isotropic silicon etching is particularly well suited for MEMS applications. XeF2 vapor phase etching exhibits nearly infinite selectivity of silicon to photo-resist, silicon dioxide, silicon nitride and aluminum. Being a vapor phase etchant, XeF2 avoids many of the problems typically associated with wet processes. K. Pister discusses the use of xenon difluoride, as an etchant for MEMS applications, in part in US patent number 5,726,480.
1. General Silicon etching
2. Fluorinating graphene to change it’s electrical properties
3. Pinhole check for thin films (mostly ALD films)
- XeF2 will etch through extremely tiny holes without damaging most ALD films. When a thin film deposited on Si is exposed to XeF2 gas in the etcher, the Si underneath the pinholes will be etched, making them visible.
4. Enhancement for SEM thin film thickness measurements
- For measurement of thin films deposited on a Si wafer, etching away some of the cleaved Si wafer will cause the deposited film to protrude, making it very easy to see it's edges in a SEM.