Plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition and atomic layer etching of gallium oxide using trimethylgallium

Kevin A. Hatch, Daniel C. Messina, Robert J. Nemanich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Atomic layer etching driven by self-limiting thermal reactions has recently been developed as a highly conformal and isotropic technique for low damage atomic scale material removal by sequential exposures of vapor phase reactants. Gallium oxide (Ga2O3) is currently among the materials of interest due to a large variety of applications including power electronics, solar cells, gas sensors, and photon detectors. In this study, Ga2O3 was deposited by plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition using trimethylgallium [TMG, Ga(CH3)3] and O2 plasma at a substrate temperature of 200 °C. We report a newly developed method for Ga2O3 thermal atomic layer etching, in which surface modification is achieved through HF exposure resulting in a gallium fluoride surface layer, and then removed through volatile product formation via ligand exchange with TMG. Saturation of the precursor exposure at a substrate temperature of 300 °C resulted in an etch rate of 1.0 ± 0.1 Å/cycle for amorphous Ga2O3. Uniformity and conformality of the atomic layer etching process were confirmed via atomic force microscopy with a measured surface roughness of 0.55 ± 0.05 nm that remains unchanged after etching. The use of TMG for etching may expand available precursors for atomic layer etching processes, while allowing for both etching and deposition of Ga2O3 using the same metalorganic precursor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042603
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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