The angular etching yields of polysilicon in Cl2Ar plasmas, and dielectric materials (thermal silicon dioxide and low-k dielectric coral) in fluorocarbon plasmas, have been characterized in an inductively coupled plasma beam apparatus. The effects of ion energy, feed gas composition, and plasma source pressure are studied. The experimental results showed that these etching parameters had a significant impact on the resulting angular etching yield curve. In particular, the angular etching yield curve was more sputteringlike at low plasma source pressure and/or low effective gas percentage (Cl2 and C4F8), with a peak around 60°–70° off-normal ion incident angle. In contrast, ion-enhanced-etching-like angular curves, which dropped gradually with off-normal angle, were formed at high plasma source pressure and/or high effective gas percentage. Further analysis indicated that the effective neutral-to-ion flux ratio reaching the surface was the primary factor influencing the angular etching yield curve. More specifically, the angular etching yield curve had physical sputtering characteristics at low neutral-to-ion flux ratios; while etching process was really dominated by ion-enhanced etching at high ratios and the angular curve was ion-enhanced-etching-like. The polymer deposition effects are also discussed in this article.

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