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Atomic Layer Etching

In (a) we show a schematic of a thermal, self-limiting ALE process, (b) shows predicted temperature at which self-limiting ALE dominates in crystalline HfO2 (c) shows predicated temperature at which self-limiting ALE dominates in amorphous HfO2. This difference is constent with experimental observations comparing ALE of crystalline and amorphous HfO2.Caption

Deposition of ultra-thin materials that are uniform and conformal is challenging. Self-limiting atomic layer etching (ALE) is a process technology that can controllably etch metals and oxide dielectrics to overcome this difficulty. We use DFT simulations to predict process conditions for ALE and explore etch chemistries at the atomic scale.

Technological challenges for ALE:

  • Developing chemistries to avoid use of HF and promote thermal ALE
  • Self-limiting thermal ALE of metals

Our simulations predict process chemistries for dielectric ALE using HF and find less toxic alternatives. We propose and test new chemistries for metal ALE which can be tested by collaborators.