Though the terms “RIE” (reactive ion etching) and “plasma etching” are often used synonymously, they are in fact not the same. Plasma etching is an umbrella term for all etching procedures that can be performed with plasma while RIE is a subtype which employs reactive ionized chemical species.
RIE was originally developed in consequence of the continuous reduction of integrated circuits. With wet chemical etching, the smallest achievable structure is as large as three micrometers. RIE combines chemically active species such as XeF2 and particles which convey physical energy (mostly argon) and give the desired anisotropy to the etch process. With RIE structures in the nanometer range can be created. One RIE treatment can treat up to 25 pieces at one time.
RIE is a highly versatile process, but also one in which many parameters have to be controlled and adjusted. Thierry offers extensive services to help you develop the best possible RIE procedure for your material.
Though RIE is most frequently applied in the manufacturing of integrated circuits, there are many other applications outside the semiconductor industry: