Electrochemical Etching of a Niobium Film through a Thin Nanomask Formed by AFM Tip-Induced Local Oxidation
The anodic-dissolution etching of niobium through a thin anodic-oxide mask is studied experimentally. The electrolyte is an aqueous buffer solution of ammonium fluoride. It is established that the etch rate of niobium is higher than that of the oxide by a few orders of magnitude if the surface potential is 1–1.5 V. It is shown that etching under the stated conditions with a mask formed by AFM tip-induced local oxidation enables one to make nanostructures from niobium epitaxial films of thickness up to over 50 nm.
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