Chemical etching of SiC was found to proceed in pure water with the assistance of a Pt catalyst. A 4H-SiC (0001) wafer was placed and slid on a polishing pad in pure water, on which a thin Pt film was deposited to give a catalytic nature. Etching of the wafer surface was observed to remove protrusions preferentially by interacting with the Pt film more frequently, thus flattening the surface. In the case of an on-axis wafer, a crystallographically ordered surface was obtained with a straight step-and-terrace structure, the height of which corresponds to that of an atomic bilayer of Si and C. The etching rate depended upon the electrochemical potential of Pt. The vicinal surface was observed at the potential at which the Pt surface was bare. The primary etching mechanism was hydrolysis with the assistance of a Pt catalyst. This method can, therefore, be used as an environmentally friendly and sustainable technology.

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