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Self-cleaning etch process

Image Number 12 for United States Patent #6136211.

A process for etching a substrate 25 in an etching chamber 30, and simultaneously cleaning a thin, non-homogeneous, etch residue deposited on the surfaces of the walls 45 and components of the etching chamber 30. In the etching step, process gas comprising etchant gas is used to etch a substrate 25 in the etching chamber 30 thereby depositing etch residue inside the chamber 30. Cleaning gas is added to the process gas for a sufficient time and in a volumetric flow ratio that is sufficiently high, to react with and remove substantially all the etch residue deposited by the process gas. The present method advantageously cleans the etch residue in the chamber 30, during the etching process, and without use of separate cleaning, conditioning, and seasoning process steps.

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