A method of plasma etching Ga-based compound semiconductors includes providing a process chamber and a source electrode adjacent thereto. The chamber contains a Ga-based compound semiconductor sample in contact with a platen which is electrically connected to a first power supply, and the source electrode is electrically connected to a second power supply. SiCl.sub.4 and Ar gases are flowed into the chamber. RF power is supplied to the platen at a first power level, and RF power is supplied to the source electrode. A plasma is generated. Then, RF power is supplied to the platen at a second power level lower than the first power level and no greater than about 30 W. Regions of a surface of the sample adjacent to one or more masked portions of the surface are etched at a rate of no more than about 25 nm/min to create a substantially smooth etched surface.
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under Contract Number DE-AC52-07NA27344 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.