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
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
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
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
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 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.
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 nanopillar patterning (~20 nm width) for double-gate MOS fabrication
Photo courtesy of AIST
Anisotropic etching of SiO2 on InP substrate for mask patterning
5-layer Al lines exposure in IC chip deprocessing
Saves installation space in a cleanroom.
Symmetrical Evacuation Design
Improves etch uniformity and process repeatability.
Easy-to-use touch-panel GUI
Handles recipes with multiple user levels.
Robot Wafer Handling
Multi-joint robot enables high-speed wafer transfer with superior reliability.
Atmospheric or vacuum cassette chamber prevents contamination caused by particles and reduces downtime for wafer transfer.
Large Chamber Systems
Capable of processing up to 300/450 mm or batch processing of small wafers