Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films

Molecular-beam study of gas-surface chemistry in the ion assisted etching of silicon with atomic and molecular hydrogen and chlorine

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Modulated molecular-beam mass spectrometry and quartz crystal microbalance techniques were used to study the etching of Si by the combinations of H/H2, C1/CI2, HCl, and Ar+ ion bombardment at room temperature. Without ion bombardment, only • H atoms etch Si spontaneously. While the addition of Cl or Cl2stopped H etching instantaneously, the addition of HC1 had no effect. With Ar+ ion bombardment at 2 keV, the addition of HC1 to the etching of Si with HsCl, or CL2did not influence the etch rates. No DCI was observed when D atoms and HC1 molecules were incident on Si simultaneously. This confirms that HC1 does not dissociatively chemisorb on Si instantaneously. During ion assisted etching, the addition of fluxes of H atoms, Cl atoms or Cl2molecules increased the Si etch rate significantly. The Si etch rate for Cl atoms and Cl2molecules was identical within experimental error provided the total chlorine flux was kept constant. The etch products observed were primarily SiCL. The addition of H atoms to the ion assisted etching of Si with Cl increased the etch rate the same amount as with Cl2but four times more HCI was formed with Cl atoms. Several hydrogenated chlorosilane peaks were observed with the mass spectrometer and these peaks were larger with CL2than with Cl. The addition of either Cl or CL2to the H/Ar+/Si system decreased the etch rate. These observations suggest the recombination of H and Cl to form HC1 is not rate limiting in these etching processes. © 1990, American Vacuum Society. All rights reserved.