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Technical Insight

Magazine Feature
This article was originally featured in the edition:
Volume 24 Issue 3

Atomic layer etching: What for?


Atomic layer etching promises to improve the quality of GaN-based HEMTs and eradicate the damage associated with high etching rates by Mike Cooke and Andy Goodyear Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology

All the latest market trends from the Internet of-Things to mobile technology and driverless cars have a common thread: hi tech on the move. This is propelling the industry along a well-trodden path of ever greater functionality, in a smaller and smaller space, while consuming less and less energy. Progress on all these fronts has hinged on the growth of ever thinner films and smaller device features. To do this, there is a need to create and control materials with ever increasing accuracy.

For thin-film deposition, a technology that delivers the goods is atomic layer deposition (ALD). In comparison, conventional plasma etching, which is based on a continuous "˜analogue' process, fails to offer the same degree of control. But atomic layer etching (ALE) could change all that and propel plasma etching into its "˜digital' age.

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