Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics

Highly selective dry etching of GaP in the presence of AlxGa1-xP with a SiCl4/SF6 plasma

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We present an inductively coupled-plasma reactive-ion etching process that simultaneously provides both a high etch rate and unprecedented selectivity for gallium phosphide (GaP) in the presence of aluminum gallium phosphide (AlxGa1-xP). Utilizing mixtures of silicon tetrachloride (SiCl4) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), selectivities exceeding 2700:1 are achieved at GaP etch rates above 3000 nm min-1. A design of experiments has been employed to investigate the influence of the inductively coupled-plasma power, the chamber pressure, the DC bias and the ratio of SiCl4 to SF6. The process enables the use of thin AlxGa1-xP stop layers even at aluminum contents of a few percent.