Soft plasma etching for Graphene and 2D Materials

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Plasma etching technology from Moorfield is used for Soft Etching of sensitive materials, reactive ion etching (RIE) and for substrate cleaning. The technology is available packaged into dedicated nanoETCH tools or in combination with other hardware inside larger MiniLab process chambers and load-locks.

Soft Etching technology

Unlike conventional etching systems, nanoETCH systems from Moorfield are optimised for 2D materials R&D through the precise delivery of low-plasma-etching powers, technology referred to as soft-etching. Such fine control is essential for researchers working with layered materials with characteristic dimensions on the single-atom scale.


The nanoETCH instruments are fully automatic and touchscreen operated, are equipped with precisely controlled RF power generation and process gas introduction in a ultra-compact benchtop design.

Soft Etching technology is optimised for providing the fine control required for substrate and device preparation in graphene and 2D materials research:

  • Substrate preparation for mechanical exfoliation: When preparing 2D material ‘flakes’ via mechanical exfoliation (also known as the sticky-tape method), the nature of the substrate surface is crucial. Soft Etching tools are now being used to obtain the topological and chemical substrate surface properties necessary for producing large flake areas.

  • 2D material patterning: Given their thinness, 2D materials are fragile and require finely-controlled etching conditions for device fabrication. Soft Etching technology provides this control and also allows for patterning without cross-linking common mask photoresists (e.g., PMMA).




  • Defect engineering: A key research theme for graphene science is defect engineering. Through controlled low plasma-powers, soft-etching technology is being used for creating point defects in lattices for implementing control over this aspect of the material. Fine control is necessary for reproducible results and to avoid uncontrolled material destruction[1].


Learn More? 

Please click on ‘Request Application Note’  and download the full application note ‘Soft plasma etching for Graphene and 2D Materials’.