Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) is a Plasma Dry Etching Technology which is universaly applied particularly for electronic and optoelectronic applications.
The main principle of RIE is that the substrate is positioned on an electrode which is charged negative by Self-Bias. This causes high energy impact by positively charged ions accelerated by the DC electric field. This causes physical etching of the substrate. The technical principle explained is identical to the principle of Ion Etching (IE), however while IE is practiced by use of inert process gases so that only physical etching takes place, in case of RIE reactive gases are used so that that physical and reactive etching take place parallel.
A main application of RIE is anisotropic etching of structures in semiconductors, of organic and anorganic dielectrica, metallic barrier layers and of polymers for electronic or optoelectronic applications.