Focused ion beams (FIBs) provide maskless prototyping of 2-D and 3-D micro- and nano-structures for many applications in optics, electronics, and medicine. In many situations, the chemical enhancement of the FIB sputtering process is used to increase the selectivity and removal rate of different materials.
In this study, Ti, TiO2, and TiN thin films of different origin were patterned using Ga+ FIB without or with chemical enhancement (or gas assisted etching, GAE). The effects of ion beam parameters and gas ambient on the sputtering yields, etching selectivity, roughening at the film/substrate interface, sub-micron and nano-scale patterning of these materials were investigated.
Several gases, including XeF2, CO2, chlorine, bromine, and oxygen, were employed. The largest increase of the sputtering yield was achieved with XeF2 gas, whereas CO2 and oxygen depleted the sputtering rate. Among all gases tested, the Br2 FIB GAE produced the best uniformity of the material removal. It was found that the use of bromine gas provides the best selectivity between the titanium oxide and pure titanium or its nitride.