Bias-pulsed atomic layer etching of 4H-silicon carbide producing subangstrom surface roughness

J. A. Michaels, N. Delegan, Y. Tsaturyan, J. R. Renzas, D. D. Awschalom, J. G. Eden, F. J. Heremans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new approach to atomic layer etching (ALE) has been demonstrated, and its application to 4H-SiC is reported here. By pulsing only the DC bias for an Ar/Cl2 inductively coupled plasma-reactive ion etching system, the etch cycle duration is reduced by more than an order of magnitude relative to conventional ALE processes. Gas flows are not changed throughout the ALE process. With this process protocol, we achieved an etch rate of 2.48 ± 0.09 Å/cycle with 6 s cycles, an RMS surface roughness (Rq) of 0.83 ± 0.08 Å, and an ALE synergy value of S = 99%. The parameters explored within this ALE process demonstrate effective subangstrom smoothening of 4H-SiC surfaces and is well-suited for a variety of classical and quantum device nanofabrication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number032607
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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