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Deposition is any process that grows, coats, or otherwise transfers a material onto the substrate.


Available technologies include physical vapor deposition (PVD), chemical vapor deposition (CVD), electrochemical deposition (ECD), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and more recently, atomic layer deposition (ALD) among others.

Physical vapor deposition (PVD)

Main article: Wet etching

Plasma etching

Main article: Plasma etching

Plasma etching involves loading the sample into a vacuum chamber which is then injected with a reactive gas mixture that is ignited using a high power source. The resulting plasma reacts chemically and physically with the sample to remove the desired material.

Plasma etching has several advantages over wet etching. In particular, the process can be tuned very finely using several different parameters. In many cases, this allows for an anisotropic etch, which is difficult or impossible to achieve with most liquid-based etches. This allows for much finer feature sizes (down to several nm, limited mainly by the lithography used to define the mask) and much higher aspect ratios (in many cases > 10:1). Additionally, it does not require the sample to be immersed in any liquid, which can cause failure of suspended mechanical devices, e.g. stiction. However, it has the disadvantage that it typically cannot achieve as high selectivities as with wet etching.

Figures of merit

Deposition rate

Refractive Index


Thermal Budget