Removing organic polymers by plasma etching. Plasma can decompose organic polymers to radicals which can react with active species of the plasma to short organic molecules which are gaseous in low pressure conditions. These molecules are removed by the vacuum pump.

One major application is ashing of foto resist masks in microelectronic technology (also see ⇒foto lithographie).

Another application is chemical analysis. In a mixture of organic and mineral substances the organic substances can be removed by ashing. The remaining mineral substance can be chemically analysed.