The variation of etch rate with power, pressure and flow is studied using a coupled electron and chemical kinetics model. The electron kinetics model involves a solution of the electron continuity and current continuity equations in conjunction with the Boltzmann equation. The temporal variation of the electric field, electron energy distribution function (EEDF) and electron number density in the bulk of an RF discharge, is calculated using measured current waveforms, and calculated species concentrations. Electron generation through electron-impact ionization, is balanced by attachment and diffusion losses. A time-dependent solution of the Boltzmann equation is employed to investigate the problem of non-equilibrium, between the EEDF and the instantaneous field. Rates for electron impact processes are calculated using the EEDF.
Rate equations for the different species are solved to obtain steady state species concentrations. Radicals and ions produced by electron-impact processes are lost through neutral recombination, ion-ion neutralization, diffusion to reactor surfaces and flow losses. The calculated ion number densities far exceed the electron number density. A transport model that considers the diffusion of etchant species to the wafer and subsequent reaction, is used to compute the etch rate.