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Article Dans Une Revue Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A Année : 2024

PbS quantum dot thin film dry etching

Pascal Gouraud
Linda Parmigiani
  • Fonction : Auteur
Stéphane Allegret-Maret
  • Fonction : Auteur
Denis Guiheux
  • Fonction : Auteur
Jonathan Steckel


Many consumer products used daily contain sensors and image sensors (smartphones, cars, automated tools, etc.). There is a growing demand to enhance the capabilities of industrial products to probe their environment more efficiently, i.e., under difficult conditions (smoke, darkness, etc.). One solution is to extend the capabilities of image sensors to detect light toward the near-infrared and short-wave infrared (SWIR) regions. Because silicon has weak absorption properties in the infrared, especially in the SWIR region, manufacturers are investigating the use of new materials to build these sensors. To this end, colloidal quantum dot (QD) thin films made from the assembly of PbS nanoparticles have emerged as promising materials. They offer tunable bandgaps, favorable absorption properties, and scalability in production. However, patterning the active parts of photodiodes by plasma etching of this new material presents challenges. The etching chemistry must be selected to volatilize Pb and S without modifying the unetched active part of the PbS QD photodiode, and the etching profile should be anisotropic. In this study, we have screened several plasma operating conditions (power, pressure, and temperature) in various chemistries (H2, Cl2, HBr, and N2). To understand the etch mechanisms and profiles, ToF-SIMS and TEM/energy dispersive x-ray were employed. Our findings reveal that halogen-based plasmas cause QD material deterioration through Cl or Br diffusion deep in the film. While H2 plasmas are efficient to etch PbS QD films, they result in high roughness due to the removal of the carbonated ligands that separate PbS QDs. This ligand etching is followed by QD coalescence leading to significant roughness. However, the addition of N2 to H2 can prevent this phenomenon by forming a diffusion barrier at the surface, resulting in favorable etching characteristics.

Dates et versions

hal-04626665 , version 1 (27-06-2024)



Nicolas Le Brun, Gilles Cunge, Pascal Gouraud, Camille Petit-Etienne, Linda Parmigiani, et al.. PbS quantum dot thin film dry etching. Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A, 2024, 42 (3), ⟨10.1116/6.0003335⟩. ⟨hal-04626665⟩
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