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NANOPLASMA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 16424
Funded under: FP6-NMP

Plasma etching comes of age

Precision etching of circuits through plasma streams has brought with it the promise of cutting-edge technology. This will allow SMEs to produce electronic devices much more quickly and efficiently.
Plasma etching comes of age
Plasma etching is a fabrication process that involves fast streams of plasma discharges to create integrated circuits. The EU-funded project 'Plasma etching for desired nano-feature shape and nano-texture: an advanced reactor and simulation software for feedback-loop plasma control' (Nanoplasma) investigated a new method for plasma etching. The new multi-level method involved measuring and control experiments to achieve plasma etching at nanoscale level, including controlled surface nano-roughness and texture.

Focusing on plasma diagnostics, plasma simulation and surface modelling software, the project developed an improved plasma etch tool design that improves production and control of difficult nanoscale etching processes.

Nanoplasma validated plasma etching models by controlling gas flows and plasma power to closely control etch rate and etch profile. It developed an advanced plasma etcher featuring a new plasma source, radio frequency (RF) automatch, integrated spectroscopy and closed loop control, resulting in outstanding precision.

Advances were made in reducing roughness and creating textured pillars that were 50 nm thick. In all, the project produced viable prototypes for a new plasma etch tool and plasma etch simulator. It also published 15 articles in academic journals as well as 50 academic publications during conferences. Four patent applications were registered to safeguard the new technology, demonstrating once again Europe's primacy in this kind of technology.

These results will enable SMEs to reliably manufacture nanodevices in small batches and eventually in larger production quantities, benefitting from cutting edge technology and a cost-effective approach.

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