Etching Silicon with Plasma

 
In electronics there are thin slices of semiconductor material called wafers. These semiconductor wafers are usually made by etching silicon and are widely used in the production of integrated circuits and various other microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). These parts are essential in almost all modern technology including computers, cell phones, and all other digital home devices. Plasma etching silicon wafers is a crucial step in the production process for integrated circuits that need to be very small and thin in size. Trying to create the patterns necessary on the surface of these minuscule devices is difficult without damaging them but with the help of plasma technology, etching silicon wafers can be done very effectively.

How Etching Silicon is Done

 
When etching silicon for the production of integrated circuits, Thierry uses a process called reactive ion etching or RIE. This process is a different form of plasma etching that combines chemically active plasma such as XeF2 with particles that produce more physical energy like argon plasma. Etching silicon requires a more vigorous approach and RIE can accomplish this task and carve out the necessary micro-structure in the silicon wafers that will be used to make the integrated circuits.
 
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