Aerosol jet etching
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A device and method for etching a body are provided capable of etching fine geometry patterns utilizing the high selectivity of wet etching and the anisotropic etch characteristics of dry etching. The body to be etched is placed in a reduced pressure etching chamber. An inert carrier gas is bubbled through heated liquid etchant producing a vapor stream of liquid etchant. A non-reactive gas is chilled producing a cold gas stream. The vapor stream and the cold gas stream are combined in an aerosol generation nozzle producing a high concentration of fine aerosol particles by homogeneous nucleation. The fine aerosol particles enter an aerosol growth chamber and form larger particles through thermal coagulation. The larger particles are accelerated out of the growth chamber through an expansion nozzle positioned within the reduced pressure etching chamber and directed toward the body to be etched. This aerosol jet of etchant impacts the surface of the body to be etched. The small size of these larger particles allows for etching fine geometry patterns. Additionally, aerosol jet etching avoids the need to rinse the body after being etched as required in wet etching to halt the etching process.