GaN etching was studied in Cl2/Ar plasmas as a function of process parameters. In addition, for a better understanding of the etching mechanisms, Langmuir probe measurements and optical emission spectroscopy were carried out. Etch rate was found to depend strongly on bias power. After optimization, an etch rate greater than 1000 nm/min was achieved. A second part of this work is dedicated to the etched surface defects. An original method to estimate GaN dislocation density and to localize nanopipes in the material is presented. Columnar defects could also appear with impurities in the etching reactor. The authors also present a possible formation mechanism of those columnar defects.

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