Electron-stimulated etching of surfaces functionalized by remote plasma is a flexible and novel approach for material removal. In comparison with plasma dry etching, which uses the ion-neutral synergistic effect to control material etching, electron beam-induced etching (EBIE) uses an electron-neutral synergistic effect. This approach appears promising for the reduction of plasma-induced damage (PID), including atomic displacement and lateral straggling, along with the potential for greater control and lateral resolution. One challenge for EBIE is the limited selection of chemical precursor molecules that can be used to produce functionalized materials suitable for etching under electron beam irradiation. In this work, we studied a new experimental approach that utilizes a remote plasma source to functionalize substrate surfaces in conjunction with electron beam irradiation by an electron flood gun. Etching rates (ERs) of SiO2, Si3N4, and poly-Si are reported in a broad survey of processing conditions. The parametric dependence of the ER of these Si-based materials on the operating parameters of the flood gun and the remote plasma source is evaluated. We also identified the processing parameters that enable the realization of material selective removal, i.e., the etching selectivity of Si3N4 over SiO2 and poly-Si over SiO2. Additionally, surface characterization of etched materials is used to clarify the effects of the co-introduction of particle fluxes from the remote plasma and flood gun sources on surface chemistry.

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