Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) is a dry etching technique that is used to etch 1-µm and submicrometer patterns into films of silicon and silicon compounds. RIE is suitable for VLSI applications because etching is anisotropic and proceeds via chemical reactions with the substrate. Anisotropic etching allows faithful reproduction of resist patterns into the films that make up a device, and chemical etching allows development of selective etching by manipulating the composition of the plasma. The RIE reactor is described and examples of its use to fabricate 1-µm MOSFET's are given. Concerns arising from the presence of a voltage between the substrates and the plasma, radiation damage of SiO2 and contamination of silicon, are discussed. Copyright © 1981 by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.