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Title: Inductively coupled plasma–reactive ion etching of c- and a-plane AlGaN over the entire Al composition range: Effect of BCl{sub 3} pretreatment in Cl{sub 2}/Ar plasma chemistry

Inductively coupled plasma (ICP)–reactive ion etching (RIE) patterning is a standard processing step for UV and optical photonic devices based on III-nitride materials. There is little research on ICP-RIE of high Al-content AlGaN alloys and for nonpolar nitride orientations. The authors present a comprehensive study of the ICP-RIE of c- and a-plane AlGaN in Cl{sub 2}/Ar plasma over the entire Al composition range. The authors find that the etch rate decreases in general with increasing Al content, with different behavior for c- and a-plane AlGaN. They also study the effect of BCl{sub 3} deoxidizing plasma pretreatment. An ICP deoxidizing BCl{sub 3} plasma with the addition of argon is more efficient in removal of surface oxides from Al{sub x}Ga{sub 1−x}N than RIE alone. These experiments show that Al{sub x}Ga{sub 1−x}N etching is affected by the higher binding energy of AlN and the higher affinity of oxygen to aluminum compared to gallium, with oxides on a-plane AlGaN more difficult to etch as compared to oxides on c-plane AlGaN, specifically for high Al composition materials. The authors achieve reasonably high etch rate (∼350 nm/min) for high Al-content materials with a smooth surface morphology at a low DC bias of ∼−45 VDC.
Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Colaba, Mumbai 400005 (India)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22224103
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology. A, Vacuum, Surfaces and Films; Journal Volume: 31; Journal Issue: 6; Other Information: (c) 2013 American Vacuum Society; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; ALLOYS; ALUMINIUM; ALUMINIUM NITRIDES; ARGON; BINDING ENERGY; BORON CHLORIDES; CHEMISTRY; ETCHING; GALLIUM; IONS; MORPHOLOGY; OXIDES; OXYGEN; PLASMA; REMOVAL; SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS; SPUTTERING; SURFACES