RIE Plasma Etching Systems – Reactive Ion Etching

SAMCO Inc. > Etching Systems > RIE Systems

Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) is a plasma etching technology to fabricate micro and nano-structures. During RIE etching processes, volatile compounds are formed in interaction of sample surfaces and high-energy ions/radicals generated by low-pressure plasma. The volatile compounds are removed from the sample surfaces, and isotropic or anisotropic profile is achieved. Various types of materials can be etched using RIE etching technology by optimization of dry etch recipe (chamber pressure, RF power, gas flow ratios).

Product Lineup of RIE Plasma Etching Systems

Samco offers multiple Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) Systems for R&D and production customers.
Tabletop compact RIE etcher is a suitable tool for academic device research and die deprocessing for IC failure analysis. Open-load RIE systems and load-lock RIE systems have wide process window for plasma etching of various materials (silicon, dielectric, compound semiconductor, metal, polymer and photoresist). Cassette-equipped RIE systems improve process throughput for device fabrication.

Tabletop RIE System

Tabletop RIE System

The SAMCO RIE-1C is a semi-automatic open-load RIE plasma etcher with small footprint. It is the ideal solution for Research and IC Failure Analysis laboratories with very little bench-top space. Once a recipe is set up, processing is started with a push of a button, and the sequence includes system pump down, initiation of gas flow, RF power and chamber venting. An audio alarm signals completion of run.

The RIE-1C includes a door interlock and reset switch to ensure operator safety and protect the system. The manual RF match network, and throttle valve eliminate potential system failures and reduce long term cost of ownership.

As standard, the compact system can accommodate one 4″ wafer, die, or packaged devices with an option to upgrade to 6” substrates. A small-footprint cart designed to hold the RF power generator and vacuum pump is available with the system.

Open-load RIE Systems

Openload RIE System

An open-load system is where the operator vents the reaction chamber, and manually places the substrate onto the chuck. The SAMCO RIE-10NR, RIE-300NR and RIE-480NR are fully automated open-load Reactive Ion Etching systems that are sized for 8″, 300mm, or 450mm substrates. The systems are designed to meet demanding process requirements for fluorine chemistries for both research, and production customers.

  • A computerized touch panel that provides a user-friendly interface for parameter control, and recipe storage.
  • Fully automatic “one-button” operation or full manual override.
  • A symmetrical evacuation design coupled to a turbo molecular pump creates an efficient vacuum flow. A close coupled Gas delivery box reduces the residence time due to a long gas delivery pipes.
  • An optimized Shower Head to deliver process gas uniformly.

The result is a range of plasma etch systems with a large process window, excellent process control and uniformity.

Load-lock RIE Systems

RIE plasma etcher

A Load lock system has a reaction chamber, and a separate loading chamber. The addition of a load lock allows the reaction chamber to stay under vacuum, and the controlled environment improves process repeatability. Load lock systems are also typically required when using corrosive or toxic gases such as Chlorine, and when the etch by-products are harmful.

The RIE-200NL is a load lock type high precision plasma reactive ion etching system that can be used to etch all types of semiconducting, insulating and metallic films. It includes all the features of the open-load platform but adds a surface treated protective shield that is raised during substrate loading. The shield protects the condition of the slit valve seal, and also improves uniformity.

Atmospheric Cassette RIE Systems

Atmospheric Cassette RIE Plasma Etching Tools

For Fluorine or organic based chemistries the addition of an atmospheric cassette to a reaction chamber may be the ideal solution to increase throughput. The RIE-100C and RIE-200C are Reactive Ion Etch systems that include a single or dual cassette coupled to an atmospheric robot and wafer aligner. The robot has vacuum suction that allows for high speed wafer transfer, and the alignment station guarantees loading accuracy.

In this configuration the reaction chamber is rapidly vented to unload, and then load a new wafer.  After the reaction chamber slit valve closes, the chamber is pumped to process pressure, and after the process completes, the cycle is repeated.

The RIE-100C and RIE-200C include all the features of the open-load platform. An optional e-chuck increases heat transfer from the substrate during processing.

Vacuum Cassette RIE Systems

Vacuum Cassette RIE Plasma Etching Equipment

Vacuum Cassette systems are typically used when processes require a controlled environment, corrosive/toxic gases such as Chlorine are being used, or when the etch by-products are harmful. In this configuration the reaction chamber is coupled to a transfer chamber with vacuum robot, and an additional Loading chamber includes a vacuum cassette elevator.

The RIE-200LC is a cassette based reactive ion etching system. The RIE-200LC can be used to anisotropicaliy etch all types of semiconducting, insulating, and metallic films continuously without purging the chamber to atmospheric pressure. It includes all the features of the open-load platform but adds a surface treated protective shield that is raised during substrate loading. The shield protects the condition of the slit valve seal, and also improves uniformity. An optional e-chuck increases heat transfer from the substrate during processing.

Process Examples

SAMCO RIE systems offer etching solutions of a wide variety of material including Silicon, SiO2, SiNx compound semiconductors, metals and organics such as polyimide. The systems can control etch profile (isotropic or anisotropic) in high etch uniformity over the substrates. Also, the systems provide reliable deprocessing solutions for failure analysis.
Please check our Process Data Page for our process capabilities.

silicon nanoscale etching for XMOS

Silicon nanopillar patterning (~20 nm width) for double-gate MOS fabrication
Photo courtesy of AIST

SiO2 mask fabrication

Anisotropic etching of SiO2 on InP substrate for mask patterning

5-layer Al lines exposure

5-layer Al lines exposure in IC chip deprocessing

Specification Chart

Table-top RIE System Open-load RIE Systems Load-lock RIE Systems Atmospheric Cassette RIE Systems Vacuum Cassette RIE Systems
Loading Open-load Load-lock Single/Double Atmospheric Cassettes Vacuum Cassette Chamber
Wafer Placement Manual Linear Robot Atmospheric Robot Vacuum Robot
Sample Size 100/150 mm 200/350/450 mm 200/350 mm 100/200 mm 200/350 mm
Chuck type Fluid Cooled Fluid Cooled/E-Chuck
Pumping Type Single Port Symmetrical Evacuation Design
Vacuum System Rotary Pump Turbo Pump with Rotary Backing Pump
Gas Lines 2 Up to 6
RF Power 200 W 300/500/1000 W
System Control One button operation Easy-to-use touch-panel GUI
Endpoint Option Optical Interferometer
Applications • Basic plasma research

• Si, SiO2 and SiNx etching

• Polyimide and parylene etching

• Photoresist Ashing

• Failure Analysis

• Dry etching of various materials

– Si, SiO2, SiNx, and organics

• Failure Analysis

– Up to 450 mm

• Dry etching of various materials

– Si, SiO2, SiNx, GaN, GaAs, InP, metals and organics

– Suitable for samples sensitive to chamber conditions

• Dry etching of various materials

– Si, SiO2, SiNx, and organics

• High-volume wafer processing

– photoresist ashing and contact hole formation

• Dry etching of various materials

– Si, SiO2, SiNx, GaN, GaAs, InP, metals and organics

• High-volume wafer processing

– photoresist ashing and contact hole formation

System Features

Compact Footprint

Tabletop RIE System with small footprint

Saves installation space in a cleanroom.

Symmetrical Evacuation Design

Symmetrical Evacuation Design for High Uniformity

Improves etch uniformity and process repeatability.

Easy-to-use touch-panel GUI

Touchscreen operation of RIE system

Handles recipes with multiple user levels.

Robot Wafer Handling

Robot-arm wafer handling in RIE System

Multi-joint robot enables high-speed wafer transfer with superior reliability.

Cassette Chamber

Double cassette and single arm robot for wafer transfer

Atmospheric or vacuum cassette chamber prevents contamination caused by particles and reduces downtime for wafer transfer.

Large Chamber Systems

RIE systems for plasma depassivation of 300 mm

Capable of processing up to 300/450 mm or batch processing of small wafers

  • Chamber of RIE System

Testimonial

 SAMCO RIE systems are used for device fabrication at various facilities including

Contact SAMCO for more product information
Any questions? Contact us for more detail.
Contact SAMCO for more product information
Any questions? Contact us for more detail.
Contact SAMCO for more product information
Any questions? Contact us for more detail.
Contact SAMCO for more product information
Contact us for more detail.
Top