The Effects of Gas Assisted Etching (GAE)

The image below demonstrates the effects of Gas Assisted Etching (GAE). The image shows an integrated circuit that has been etched over a large area using XeF2. By using GAE, the dielectric has been preferentially milled with most of it being cleared away by the XeF2. XeF2 removes dielectrics at a faster rate compared to conventional milling. With a greatly reduced dose, the metal lines (without XeF2 milling enhancement) show minimal sputter effects. GAE etches faster and can also bare several layers of metal conductors at the same time without severing them.