What is Etching: Definition and 32 Discussions

Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio (incised) in the metal. In modern manufacturing, other chemicals may be used on other types of material. As a method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints, and remains in wide use today. In a number of modern variants such as microfabrication etching and photochemical milling it is a crucial technique in much modern technology, including circuit boards.
In traditional pure etching, a metal plate (usually of copper, zinc or steel) is covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid. The artist then scratches off the ground with a pointed etching needle where the artist wants a line to appear in the finished piece, exposing the bare metal. The échoppe, a tool with a slanted oval section, is also used for "swelling" lines. The plate is then dipped in a bath of acid, known as the mordant (French for "biting") or etchant, or has acid washed over it. The acid "bites" into the metal (it undergoes a redox reaction) to a depth depending on time and acid strength, leaving behind the drawing carved into the wax on the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate. For first and renewed uses the plate is inked in any chosen non-corrosive ink all over and the surface ink drained and wiped clean, leaving ink in the etched forms.
The plate is then put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper (often moistened to soften it). The paper picks up the ink from the etched lines, making a print. The process can be repeated many times; typically several hundred impressions (copies) could be printed before the plate shows much sign of wear. The work on the plate can be added to or repaired by re-waxing and further etching; such an etching (plate) may have been used in more than one state.
Etching has often been combined with other intaglio techniques such as engraving (e.g., Rembrandt) or aquatint (e.g., Francisco Goya).

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  1. P

    Anisotropic Etching in Semiconductor Fabrication

    I am learning about designing semiconductors but I had some issues understanding some things about the structure of Si. About lattice structure: 1) Why does an FCC has 8 atoms per cell? Doesnt has 14? About wafers 1) I know you can have wafers along different surfaces. What information can I...
  2. N

    How do I dispose of used Ferric Chloride etchant?

    Hi everybody. I'm an electronics hobbyist and use Ferric chloride to etch copper circuit boards. I'm left with a solution of copper chloride (or is it cupric chloride? Chemistry isn't my forte). So my question is, how do I dispose of it? I already searched around on the internet and there was no...
  3. V

    Can I Use Electroforming with Copper to Etch PCBs Safely and Cheaply?

    I am undertaking a personal project that requires me to etch some circuit boards. This needs to be done on the cheap and in this instance it is not feasible to send to a PCB company. I am a bit put off by the nasty chemicals and the need for correct disposal. I know you can use Vinegar and...
  4. Neel_2910

    Aluminum Etching for visualizing welding without HF Acid

    Does anyone know of an etching solution suitable for aluminium and its alloys that does not contain hydrofluoric acid?
  5. sandeep4442

    Etching of SiO2 layer in SOI substrate using RIE

    Hello all, I am trying to etch SiO2 buried layer for MEMS suspended structures using RIE and the receipe is CHF3 + 2% O2 Plasma. In my structures, the sacrificial layer is SiO2. How does the etching process vary from vertical to lateral (underneath of top Si) etching of SiO2.
  6. D

    How to etch (100) p-tye Si

    Im trying to etch 525um (100) p-type silicon, and i intend to use HF+HNO3+CH3COOH for high etching rate since i need to etch 525um of Si. does anyone know what ratio should i use to obtain high etching rate? I am trying to look for a mask that is able to withstand the attack of the etching...
  7. Y

    Best metal mask for BOE/HF etching?

    I am thinking about using a metal mask for BOE or HF etching because I realize that for normal photoresist, it will gradually peel off and affect my results. I don't know which metal is the best--so far, I see people use Cr/Au, Al, and Ni. Anybody knows which metal will give the best result?
  8. Y

    Resist adhesion to Borosilicate glass for BOE etching

    Hi all, I have had a problem in etching Borosilicate glass using BOE (6:1). As etching continues in the channel, the photoresist near the channel gradually peels off and when etching finishes (100nm), the lateral distance of peeled-off resist is big--about 6 microns. Anybody have a great...
  9. T

    Microchannel Array etching in Stainless Steel Metal Search

    Hi All! Haven't been here for some time, the changes are looking good! Anyway, formalities aside, I am having serious problems sourcing and implementing a suitable stainless steel (Grade: 304; thickness: 0.3mm) substrate for my etching process. I'm currently working on developing a...
  10. L

    Etching of silicon wafer

    Regarding the anisotropic etching of the (110) silicon wafer, why will the (110) oriented wafers form perpendicular trenches with the (111)?
  11. C

    Etching TiO2 on Silicon Substrates: Suggestions Needed

    Hi guys, Please give me some suggestions about etching TiO2 TiO2, MgF2, and Cr2O3 are sputtered on silicon substrate. The top pattern is TiO2 with the linewidth of 346nm. I would use E-beam to transfer pattern. The photoresist is PMMA. The possible etchant I have searched for is hydrogen...
  12. K

    Chemical reaction of electrochemical etching

    Greetings all, I have some questions regarding to chemical reaction between Silicon,Si (wafer) and chemical dissolution. FYI, I'm doing electrochemical ething to fabricate porous Si. Could anyone help me to solve this chemical reactions? 1) Si (silicon wafer) + HF (hydroflouric acid)+...
  13. E

    Can You Etch Al2O3 Without Etching Al in Microelectronics?

    Hi I have a small challenge. I need to etch aluminium oxide but not aluminum. Does anyone know if this is possible? If yes how? It is for some microelectronic devices. Hence I can afford etching the aluminum.
  14. J

    PCB Etching Tips: Affordable DIY Solutions

    Hi guys, I've just started doing a bit of research in preparation for trying to print and make some DIY circuits. I was just wondering if there are techniques that are favored over others. Also I don't have a massive budget, so price is quite an important factor to me. From what I can find...
  15. D

    Etching SnO2 Thin Films: Advice Needed

    Please, give me some advices on how to etch SnO2 thin films. For wet etching, I tried HCl (5%), NH3Cl, and HF. They seem to not etch SnO2 or the time I put the SnO2 in the solution was too short (<5 mins). I used RIE with CHF3/Ar to etch SnO2. The RIE worked but the etching rate was so slow...
  16. elementHTTP

    Sodium hydroxide for etching |lifetime |disposal |

    Hi there :) I have 10g of NaOH whit 1 liter of water for photo etching Solution is one year old, and do i need to make new one (is there a lifespan of solution) ? If yes how to dispose it safely ? (can it be disposed in regular drain ?) thanks for your time :)
  17. S

    Which electrolyte can I use for electrolytic etching of Aluminium

    Which Electrolyte can I use to etch Aluminum without generating toxic gases , I currently use 1200ml Water, 1200ml (30%-33% HCl) , 1200ml(68% HNO3) , 80ml(50% HF)
  18. L

    How hazardous is semiconductor etching?

    Many of you may be annoyed by my question. I'm sorry in advance. I've just finished my M.S. in Materials Science & Engineering, and have gotten an offer as a Semiconductor Process Engineer. The specialty is lithography and wet chemistry - including wet etching. As an MSE student I learned...
  19. Terocamo

    Etching Brass: Should I Use Iron III or Copper II?

    I understand that brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. If I want to eitch brass under standard condition, should I use iron III ions directly or use copper II first than us Fe III ion? I ask this because from the electric potential data, Fe metal will form under the presence of zinc if Fe...
  20. R

    Volatile vs Non-Volatile Etch Products: Understanding the Difference

    What does it mean that an etch product (for example from sputtering or chemical etching) is volatile / non volatile?
  21. P

    Calculate the flow rate of the etching solution

    Homework Statement In the semiconductor industry, integrated circuit (IC) production begins with the mechanical slicing of silicon rods into wafers. Once the wafers are sliced, the surfaces are lapped and polished to uniform flat surfaces. Contaminants and microscopic defects (work damage)...
  22. P

    Help Ravi Selectively Etch GaAs w.r.to Al0.3Ga0.7As

    Can anyone please help me with the selective etching of GaAs w.r.to Al0.3Ga0.7As.. I have tried out many compositions using the citric acid and hydrogen peroxide and none of them given in the literature work...Please help Ravi
  23. D

    What etching agent should I use for Al 3104?

    I am made to understand that you are meant to use different etching agents for different aluminum alloys. How does one find which etching agent is the right one for each alloy? Does anyone know what etching agent I can use for Al 3104? Thank you
  24. 3

    Exploring Art of Acid Etching Steel Knife Blades

    hi , i am newbie here and reading through i find it ... stimulating.. now as to what brought me here.. i have wanted to look into art form of acid etching different knids of tempered steel used in stainless knife blades.. does anyone there know what mask coating will take a fine line...
  25. E

    Etch Rate of SOI Wafers: Exploring RIE Experiments

    Hi I am trying to make a Si nanowire MOSFET and in this process I have to etch the toplayer of a SOI wafer. I have made some reactive ion etching (RIE) experiments on Si wafers and obtained an etch rate of 550 nm/min. SF6 have been used as the feedstock gas. However, when trying to...
  26. H

    Etch Graphite: Acid Options and Tips for Beginners

    Can anyone help me out - what is an effective acid to etch graphite? if any, what would be useful for etching graphite? thanks...
  27. G01

    Chemical Etching of Iron and Gold

    Hello All, I have a sample which has been covered in a layer of iron and gold for protection. So, in order to work with the sample, we need to etch away the metallic layers. I hear there is a specific chemical recipe for chemically etching away iron and gold from a sample. If anyone can link...
  28. C

    Etching Glass using Alkalis

    Greetings, Just a quick question. I would like to know what order of magnitude the etch rate will be for a solution with a pH of 14 on silica glass (flat surface at room temp) - are we talking nm/hr? microns/hr? mm/hr? Thanks, Claude.
  29. S

    Micro Etching Material: Benefits and Uses

    Has anyone here micro etched material? I'm going to start learning the process of micro etching and have the oppertunity to do it to a bolt. I'm wondering what purposes it would serve... I know that from micro etching, you can see how a certain product has been formed from the lines, is this...
  30. O

    Can Silicon and Carbon Be Cleaned Without Etching?

    Hi! Is silicon inert? i.e. can I clean it from deposited films with e.g. HNO3 and H2SO4 without etching the silicon itself? What about amorphous carbon?
  31. Monique

    Making Print Plates with Copper Etching and Household Materials

    What is the best way to etch copper with house hold materials? It is for making print plates.
  32. Gokul43201

    GaAs/AlGaAs Etching: High & Low Aspect Ratios

    I'm looking for reliable (anisotropic) wet etch techniques that give high (~ 10^2) and low aspect ratios for GaAs on Al(0.3)Ga(0.7)As. I have a few in hand, but would be glad for any additional inputs, especially from someone with personal experience, or at least word-of-mouth knowledge. I'm...