Plasma Etching:

Safety, Health & Environmental Considerations

V.M. Fthenakis & P.D. Moskowitz


Plasma etching in the photovoltaic industries involves several inorganic and organic fluorides, chlorides, and bromides, some of which are toxic, corrosive, or flammable. Nitrogen fluoride, a relatively new etching material, presents special concerns because it may form self-ignitable mixtures with some flammable gases. In addition, non-toxic compounds (e.g., Freon), can form toxic by-products in a plasma environment. Another safety concern is failure of vacuum pumps caused by corrosive effluents, and occupational safety issues associated with cleaning traps and reactors. These issues are discussed in this paper and the applicable safety and environmental control options are outlined.


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Last Modified: June 18, 2008
Please forward all questions about this site to: Vasilis Fthenakis