Gas mixture influence on the reactive ion etching of InSb in an inductively coupled methane-hydrogen plasma
In this paper, inductively coupled plasma etching of InSb material has been investigated using methane–hydrogen chemistry. Plasma conditions were first studied in terms of bias autopolarization, partial methane quantity in a CH4/H2 mixture and chamber pressure. The surface morphology of the etched samples was analyzed using an atomic force microscope, scanning electron microscope and x-ray photoelectron spectrometry (XPS) measurements. The results highlight the difficulties in removing etching products related to In, and the surface roughness is mainly correlated with the methane ratio in the mixture. The best surface stoichiometry, with a surface roughness of 7 nm and an etch rate of 110 nm min−1, was obtained with the addition of argon. To evaluate the feasibility of high performance infrared photodiodes, InSb monopixels were fabricated by dry etching, electrically characterized under illumination and compared with devices obtained by wet etching.