Atomic Layer Etching

Atomic Layer Etching

Course Objectives

  • Learn the fundamentals of ALE based on sequential self-limiting reactions.
  • Understand the differences between plasma ALE and thermal ALE.
  • Learn about the surface chemistry and reactors for ALE.
  • Understand why plasma ALE can obtain atomic layer precise anisotropic etching.
  • Learn how thermal ALE can achieve atomic layer precise isotropic etching.
  • Learn how ALE can be utilized for thin film nanoengineering and device fabrication.
  • Understand the many current and potential applications of ALE.

Course Description

Atomic layer etching (ALE) is based on sequential, self-limiting reactions that yield controlled etching at the atomic level.  ALE is critical for atomic layer processing that is increasingly important for nanoscale fabrication.  The course will cover both plasma ALE and thermal ALE.  Process strategies will be described that are useful for many applications including advanced semiconductor processing.

The first part of the course will cover the basics of plasma ALE.  Si ALE will be described as the model plasma ALE system defined by chlorination and Ar+ ion sputtering.  Other plasma ALE systems will be discussed such as SiO2, Si3N4 and HfO2 ALE.  The second part of the course will cover the basics of thermal ALE.  Al2O3 ALE will be developed as the model thermal ALE system based on fluorination and ligand-exchange reactions.  Other thermal ALE systems will be discussed such as TiN, SiO2 and Si ALE.

The course will also discuss selectivity in ALE and the importance of ALE in area-selective atomic layer deposition (ALD).  ALE and ALD can also be integrated into process flows in the same reactor for advanced device fabrication.  Other applications for ALE include surface cleaning and surface smoothening.

Online Costs:
$350 – AVS Platinum Member
$400 – AVS Gold/Silver Member
$400 – Non-Member
$200 – Full Time Student

Course Materials

Course Notes

Course Cost: $790

Who should attend?

Engineers and scientists who want an introduction to ALE or need to broaden or update their knowledge of this important field.


Steve George
Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Colorado at Boulder