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Congratulations to Antoine Ronco for his Best Student Presentation Award at the AVS 2023!

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Quantum transistors are a promising technology for the future of electronics. They could give rise to computers that are more powerful, more energy-efficient and more secure than classical computers. However, their integration remains a major technological challenge. In order to enable the manufacturing of these new architectures a plasma etching method called atomic layer etching is used.

Published on 14 June 2024

The objective is to increase the etch selectivity between SiO2 and SiN, which is a key factor for device scaling to enable better control over silicon spin Qubits. ​

Reducing the size of the device is a crucial factor in increasing the speed and performance of the Qubits. To achieve this, the etching process must be highly controlled, in particular to obtain very high etch selectivity at the bottom of the contacts.​

After obtaining a DUT in physical measurements in Grenoble, Antoine continued his studies at the École polytechnique universitaire de Grenoble-Alpes. In partnership with the University of Tsukuba, he carried out his second-year internship and his third year of e​ngineering school in Japan, immersing himself in Japanese culture and research.

“My experience in Japan allowed me to discover the world of research and gave me the desire to pursue a PhD once I got back to France,” explains Antoine.​


Atomic layer etching theoretically enables materials to be etched by removing individual atomic layers. However, in the case of atomic layer etching of silicon oxide, process drift can occur. This leads to a loss of control over the process, with significant consequences for the etched patterns. Antoine's research focuses on the optimization of this type of etching process. Thanks to in-situ characterizations, he was able to characterize this drift in real-time in a manufacturing tool. This will enable the development of improved etching processes that meet the requirements of quantum architectures.​

Antoine's results at the CEA-Leti laboratories are very encouraging: Using in-situ characterization, he identified a marker of the drift of a silicon oxide (SiO2) ALE process in real time. Furthermore, while working on process optimization, he observed an increase of up to 50% in SiO2:SiN etch selectivity as compared to the selectivity achieved with the reference process. ​

Antoine and his supervisors are continuing to optimize these etching processes, which could lead to future awards!​

Aknowledgements: François Boulard, Nicolas Posseme, Thierry Chevolleau​​​

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