Crystallographic Orientation Dependent Reactive Ion Etching in Single Crystal Diamond

Research paper by Ling Xie, Tony X. Zhou, Rainer J. Stöhr, Amir Yacoby

Indexed on: 25 Jan '18Published on: 24 Jan '18Published in: Advanced Materials


Sculpturing desired shapes in single crystal diamond is ever more crucial in the realization of complex devices for nanophotonics, quantum computing, and quantum optics. The crystallographic orientation dependent wet etch of single crystalline silicon in potassium hydroxide (KOH) allows a range of shapes to be formed and has significant impacts on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and microfluidics. Here, a crystal direction dependent dry etching principle in an inductively coupled plasma reactive ion etcher is presented, which selectively reveals desired crystal planes in monocrystalline diamond by controlling the etching conditions. Using this principle, monolithic diamond nanopillars for magnetometry using nitrogen vacancy centers are fabricated. In these nanopillars, a half-tapering angle up to 21° is achieved, the highest angle reported in the literature, which leads to a high photon efficiency and high mechanical strength of the nanopillar. These results represent the first demonstration of a crystallographic orientation dependent reactive ion etching principle, which opens a new window for shaping specific nanostructures which is at the heart of nanotechnology. It is believed that this principle will prove to be valuable for the structuring and patterning of other single crystal materials as well.