A system and method for rapid atomic layer etching (ALET) including a pulsed plasma source, with a spiral coil electrode, a cooled Faraday shield, a counter electrode disposed at the top of the tube, a gas inlet and a reaction chamber including a substrate support and a boundary electrode. The method includes positioning an etchable substrate in a plasma etching chamber, forming a product layer on the surface of the substrate, removing a portion of the product layer by pulsing a plasma source, then repeating the steps of forming a product layer and removing a portion of the product layer to form an etched substrate.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Grant Nos. DE-P502-09ER09-01 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy and CBET-0903426 awarded by the National Science Foundation.