Nanometer scale high-aspect-ratio trench etching at controllable angles using ballistic reactive ion etching
We demonstrate a low pressure reactive ion etching process capable of patterning nanometer scale angled sidewalls and three dimensional structures in photoresist. At low pressure the plasma has a large dark space region where the etchant ions have very large highly-directional mean free paths. Mounting the sample entirely within this dark space allows for etching at angles relative to the cathode with minimal undercutting, resulting in high-aspect ratio nanometer scale angled features. By reversing the initial angle and performing a second etch we create three-dimensional mask profiles.