Preliminary Evidence of Field Induced Rhenium Etching by XeF2 at High Vacuum

February 19, 2008

J. Applied Physics, 103, 044901-4 (2008).

Castano, D., Aghazarian, M., Ruzic, D. N.

Preliminary evidence of enhanced etching of rhenium by XeF2 under the influence of an electric field (3.36  GV/m) is presented. Scanning electron microscope photographs of sharp rhenium tips show etching of at least 0.40  µm ±0.07 in 32  min at the point of maximum electric field, indicating a field enhanced etching rate of 13  nm/min ±2. A control experiment shows a maximum spontaneous etching of rhenium by XeF2 of 0.1  µm ±0.07 in 30  min, indicating a maximum possible spontaneous etching rate of rhenium by XeF2 of 3  nm/min ±2. The spontaneous rate of tungsten by XeF2 reported in the literature is 0.2  nm/min.