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In this paper we review and compare most of the published results on dry etching of silicon carbide using various techniques. The vast majority of reports have used RIE methods due to the wide availability of such reactors. Recently, alternative methods of magnetron enhanced RIE (MIE) and electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) plasmas have been demonstrated. MIE has resulted in extremely high etch rates and ECR etching has resulted in smooth, residue-free surfaces with an ability to control the etched profiles.
Etch rates up to 7,000Å/min. for GaN are obtained in Cl2/H2/Ar or BCl3/Ar ECR discharges at 1–3mTorr and moderate dc biases. Typical rates with HI/H2 are about a factor of three lower under the same conditions, while CH4/H2 produces maximum rates of only ˜2000Å/min. The role of additives such as SF6, N2, H2 or Ar to the basic chlorine, bromine, iodine or methane-hydrogen plasma chemistries are discussed. Their effect can be either chemical ( in forming volatile products with N) or physical ( in breaking bonds or enhancing desorption of the etch products). The nitrides differ from conventional III-V's in that bondbreaking to allow formation of the etch products is a critical factor. Threshold ion energies for the onset of etching of GaN, InGaN and InAlN are ≥75eV.
We describe studies of luminescence and lateral transport properties of excited carriers in GaAs- A1GaAs multiple quantum well (MQW) structures by cathodoluminescence measurements in a scanning electron microscope. We examine the effect of in-plane, etch-defined feature size on MQW luminescence efficiency and variability, and determine the diffusion length and its temperature dependence from ˜ 8K to 250K. Our measurements also provide information about nonradiative surface recombination velocity at the side walls of etch-defined MQW structures.
The chemical inertness and high bond strengths of the III-V nitrides lead to slower plasma etching rates than for more conventional III-V semiconductors under the same conditions. High ion density conditions (>3×1011cm−3) such as those obtained in ECR or magnetron reactors produce etch rates up to an order of magnitude higher than for RIE, where the ion densities are in the 109 cm−3 range. We have developed smooth anisotropic dry etches for GaN, InN, AlN and their alloys based on Cl2/CH4/H2/Ar, BCl3/Ar, Cl2/H2, C12/SF6, HBr/H2 and HI/H2 plasma chemistries achieving etch rates up to ∼4,000Å/min at moderate dc bias voltages (≤-150V). Ion-induced damage in the nitrides appears to be less apparent than in other III-V’s. One of the key remaining issues is the achievement of high selectivities for removal of one layer from another.
We describe studies of luminescence and lateral transport properties of excited carriers in GaAs- AIGaAs multiple quantum well (MQW) structures by cathodoluminescence measurements in a scanning electron microscope. We examine the effect of in-plane, etch-defined feature size on MQW luminescence efficiency and variability, and determine the diffusion length and its temperature dependence from ˜ 8K to 250K. Our measurements also provide information about nonradiative surface recombination velocity at the side walls of etch-defined MQW structures.
An investigation was performed of surface region etch-induced damage of GaAs magnetron reactive ion etched in CH4/H2/Ar gas mixtures for 10% and 20% Ar concentrations. Schottky barrier I-V measurements showed that changes in surface potential (ϕb) upon etching and subsequent annealing can be explained by a combination of H passivation effects and As removal from the surface region. Changes in Schottky barrier ideality factor (n) can be explained by the presence of etch-induced surface region defects such as donor-like As vacancies and deep level recombination centers, both of which are passivated by H. Schottky barrier C-V measurements indicated that H passivation extends about 0.3 μm below the surface. Rapid thermal annealing at 400°C for 30 s was effective in removing most of the H passivation effects.
Two components of the electroluminescence (EL) from porous silicon light emitting diode (LED) devices have been observed. A slower component and a faster component have been identified. The slower component has a spectral peak shifted to the red from the corresponding photoluminescence (PL) spectrum. The faster component has a spectral peak well in the infrared (IR). Optical and electrical measurements of these two components are discussed. The temperature dependence of the two EL components are presented and contrasted. Our measurements demonstrate that the two EL components and the PL result from recombination in different parts of the porous silicon structure. As the temperature is reduced below room temperature the slower EL exhibits a decrease in intensity at relatively high temperatures, suggesting a freeze out of electrical carriers due to quantum confinement, resulting in a much reduced electrical excitation of the EL.
Using a magnetic field to confine the plasma closer to the cathode has been shown to be advantageous in dry etching technology since this yields a high degree of ionization at low pressures. We report here the results of a study of magnetron reactive ion etching of GaAs using a freon discharge. Various characterization techniques have been employed to understand the etching process and identify the extent of surface damage. The results show that magnetron etching is capable of yielding high etch rates with low damage.
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