A method for silicon micromachining techniques based on high aspect ratio reactive ion etching with gas chopping has been developed capable of producing essentially scallop-free, smooth, sidewall surfaces. The method uses precisely controlled, alternated (or chopped) gas flow of the etching and deposition gas precursors to produce a controllable sidewall passivation capable of high anisotropy. The dynamic control of sidewall passivation is achieved by carefully controlling fluorine radical presence with moderator gasses, such as CH.sub.4 and controlling the passivation rate and stoichiometry using a CF.sub.2 source. In this manner, sidewall polymer deposition thicknesses are very well controlled, reducing sidewall ripples to very small levels. By combining inductively coupled plasmas with controlled fluorocarbon chemistry, good control of vertical structures with very low sidewall roughness may be produced. Results show silicon features with an aspect ratio of 20:1 for 10 nm features with applicability to nano-applications in the sub-50 nm regime. By comparison, previous traditional gas chopping techniques have produced rippled or scalloped sidewalls in a range of 50 to 100 nm roughness.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL FUNDING
This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract Number DE-AC02-05CH11231 between the U.S. Department of Energy and The Regents of the University of California for the management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.