Gas-phase HF/vapor etching of thermal silicon dioxide films

Gerardo Montaño-Miranda, Anthony J. Muscat

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The etching of thermally grown SiO2 films using gas phase mixtures of anhydrous HF and water vapor was investigated with in situ transmission Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy in real time as a function of the HF flow rate. Although the HF flow and hence the partial pressure were varied by a factor of two, the induction times were similar, in the range of 5-7 s. Only the vibration at 3642 cm-1 indicative of surface silanols or gas phase molecular clusters of HF and water molecules increased during the induction period. After induction all of the films began etching as shown by the increase in the FTIR stretches at 1030 cm-1 (SiF4 gas) and at 1728 and 3482 cm-1 (adsorbed product H2O) as well as by the decrease in the 1076 cm-1 peak (SiO2). The product water peak areas were approximately the same at the three HF flow rates studied. The SiF4 product detected in the gas phase scaled inversely with etching rate. Both adsorbed O and F were detected by in situ XPS after etching. The results suggest that there may be an optimum surface coverage of F to efficiently etch SiO2 films at 35°C and 200 Torr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-210
Number of pages4
JournalSolid State Phenomena
StatePublished - 2003
EventThe International Symposium on Ultra Clean Processing of Silicon Surfaces V - Ostend, Belgium
Duration: Sep 16 2002Sep 18 2002


  • Dry clean
  • FTIR
  • HF/vapor etching
  • Silicon dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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