A helicon plasma source is controlled by varying the axial magnetic field or rf power controlling the formation of the helicon wave. An energetic electron current is carried on the wave when the magnetic field is 90 G; but there is minimal energetic electron current when the magnetic field is 100 G in one particular plasma source. Similar performance can be expected from other helicon sources by properly adjusting the magnetic field and power to the particular geometry. This control for adjusting the production of energetic electrons can be used in the semiconductor and thin-film manufacture process. By applying energetic electrons to the insulator layer, such as silicon oxide, etching ions are attracted to the insulator layer and bombard the insulator layer at higher energy than areas that have not accumulated the energetic electrons. Thus, silicon and metal layers, which can neutralize the energetic electron currents will etch at a slower or non-existent rate. This procedure is especially advantageous in the multilayer semiconductor manufacturing because trenches can be formed that are in the range of 0.18-0.35 mm or less.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS OF INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.