Dependence of Process Characteristics on Atomic-Step Density in Catalyst-Referred Etching of 4H–SiC(0001) Surface
Catalyst-referred etching (CARE) is a novel abrasive-free planarization method. CARE-processed 4H–SiC(0001) surfaces are extremely flat and undamaged over the whole wafer. They consist of single-bilayer-height atomic steps and atomically flat terraces. This suggests that the etching properties depend principally on the atomic-step density of the substrate surface. We used on-axis and 8° off-axis substrates to investigate the processing characteristics that affect the atomic-step density of these substrates. We found a strong correlation between the removal rate and the atomic-step density of the two substrates. For the on-axis substrate, the removal rate increased with increasing surface roughness, which increases with an increasing atomic-step density. The removal rate ratio is approximately the same as the atomic-step density ratio of the two substrates.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 2011
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