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2 April 2004 Secret of formulating a selective etching or cleaning solution for boron nitride (BN) thin film
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Boron nitride thin film has a very unique characteristic of extremely high chemical inertness. Thus, it is a better hard mask than silicon nitride for aggressive etching solutions, such as the isotropic HF/HNO3/CH3COOH (or HNA) etchant for silicon. However, because of its high chemical inertness, it is also difficult to remove it. Plasma etching with Freon gases can etch the boron nitride film, but it is unselective to silicon, silicon dioxide or silicon nitride. Cleaning up the boron nitride film with plasma etching will usually leave a damaged or foggy surface. A special wet chemical solution has been developed for etching or cleaning boron nitride film selectively. It can etch boron nitride, but not the coatings or substrates of silicon, silicon nitride and silicon dioxide. It is a very strong oxidizing agent consisting of concentrated sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), but different from the common Piranha Etch. It may be even more interesting to understand the logic or secret behind of how to formulate a new selective etching solution. Various chemical and chemical engineering aspects were considered carefully in our development process. These included creating the right electrochemical potential for the etchant, ensuring large differences in chemical kinetics to make the reactions selective, providing proper mass transfer for removing the by products, etc.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Wing Cheong Hui "Secret of formulating a selective etching or cleaning solution for boron nitride (BN) thin film", Proc. SPIE 5276, Device and Process Technologies for MEMS, Microelectronics, and Photonics III, (2 April 2004);

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