In through-mask electroetching of a metal film on top of an insulating substrate, the shape of the metal film being etched is a function of the mask opening, the spacing between the openings and the thickness of the mask. An analysis of the electric field around the mask and the metal film is used to determine conditions leading to the formation of islands of unetched metal films within the openings. The analysis is then used to design the mask pattern and eliminate these islands. The increase in the ratio of the mask thickness to the opening width for eliminating the islands also lowers the undercutting of the mask. Premature stoppage of the electroetching process arising from the isolation of the sample film from the contact is also addressed. The electrical contact to the sample is made at one end and a nozzle jet of electrolyte is slowly swept from the far end of the sample towards the electrical contact. The nozzle speed is matched with the metal removal rate and the electrical contact is exposed to the electrolyte at the end of the process.
Dr. Madhav Datta, Romankiw, L. T., and Shenoy, R. V., “Elimination of island formation and contact resistance problems during electroetching of blanket or patterned thin metallic layers on insulating substrate”, U.S. Patent US 08/367,5501996.