Etching Process

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Silicon Wafer Etching Services

Silicon wafer etching is the process of removing material from wafer surface following a pattern usually pre-establish using a lithography process

This technique intends to eliminate metal films, layers on the surface, contamination created during grinding or stress after lapping process.

It typically takes place during the front-end process of the semiconductor electronic circuits manufacturing, where:

  • First, a deposition of a thin film takes place, using the material and technique (such as PVD) that best fits the purpose of the device being manufactured.
  • Then, a photosensible layer is coated over the wafer surface . A UV lamp irradiates the wafer through a mask, only illuminating those parts of the wafer that are of interest for the final circuit, where the UV light reacts with the photosensible material. This process is called lithography.
  • Finally, the etching process takes place, removing the thin film below the unreacted photosensible material from the wafer’s surface, and leaving intact the areas covered by a the photosensible material that has reacted with the UV radiation.
Silicon Wafer Etching Services

We can distinguish a two main types of etching:

  1. Wet etching – a technique that uses liquid chemicals to remove the non-protected areas.
  2. Plasma etching – or dry etching.  It uses a plasma phase to ionize a gas and remove the unmasked thin film.

On the other hand, we can also distinguish between the isotropic etching process or the anisotropic etching process. In the first one, the material is removed equally in all directions, while in the second one, a technique removes thin film only in one direction.

The diagram below shows the secured photosensible material over the thin film, an anisotropic etching, and an isotropic etching.

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