Hydrofluoric Acid (HF)
- Practical Electron Microscopy and Database -
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Table 2440. Etchants used in semiconductor manufacturing.

Film
Etchant
SiO2(Silicon oxide)
Dilute hydrofluoric acid (DHF)
Buffered HF (BHF)
Polysilicon
Alkaline hydroxide + organic
Si3N4(silicon nitride)-selective to SiO2
Boiling phosphoric acid (H3PO4)
Si3N4/SiO2 (non-selective)
Hydrofluoric acid + organic

Si is easily oxidized in air during mechanical polishing for EM analysis. In some critical analyses (e.g. Si surface plasmon analysis) in EELS, Si TEM specimens are normally dipped in HF solution (e.g. 10% HF solution) to remove the surface oxide. However, a thin layer of SiOx may still exist due to exposure to air before loading into the TEM.

 

 

 

 

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