Model for the reaction-rate-limited dissolution of solids with Etch-rate heterogeneities



The coalescence of isotropic etch pits observed in the dissolution of semiconductor substrates is studied using a discrete model for the evolution of the surface under reaction-rate-limited conditions. The model discretizes the solid into cubic elements and repetitively applies dissolution rules to the individual elements. The rate of mass removal is based on the number and arrangement of the element's exposed faces and the specified reaction-rate parameters. Detailed knowledge of the surface normal is not required. The model shows that even at moderate etch pit densities, the effects of the coalescence do not significantly alter the trends observed for noncoalescing etch pits.