The radial line slot antenna plasma source is a type of surface wave plasma source driven by a planar slot antenna. Microwave power is transmitted through a slot antenna structure and dielectric window to a plasma characterized by a generation zone adjacent to the window and a diffusion zone that contacts a substrate. The diffusion zone is characterized by a very low electron temperature. This renders the source useful for soft etch applications and thin film deposition processes requiring low ion energy. Another property of the diffusion zone is that the plasma density tends to decrease from the axis to the walls under the action of ambipolar diffusion at distances far from where the plasma is generated. A previous simulation study [Yoshikawa and. Ventzek, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 31, 031306 (2013)] predicted that the anisotropy in transport parameters due to weak static magnetic fields less than 50 G could be leveraged to manipulate the plasma profile in the radial direction. These simulations motivated experimental tests in which weak magnetic fields were applied to a radial line slot antenna source. Plasma absorption probe measurements of electron density and etch rate showed that the magnetic fields remote from the wafer were able to manipulate both parameters. A summary of these results is presented in this paper. Argon plasma simulation trends are compared with experimental plasma and etch rate measurements. A test of the impact of magnetic fields on charge up damage showed no perceptible negative effect.

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