X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy has been used to investigate the effect of varying substrate bias when silicon is etched in a CF4 electron cyclotron resonance plasma. After etching, the silicon surface is found to be covered by a two layer structure consisting of damaged, fluorinated silicon and a fluorocarbon overlayer. The thickness of the fluorinated silicon layer depends on the self‐bias voltage. Reduction of the ion energy leads to a thinner fluorinated layer as well as a lower etch rate, suggesting that damage and fluorination of the crystal lattice are important in the ion enhanced etching of silicon in fluorine containing plasmas.

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