The chemical reaction of residues formed on a quartz surface in an electron cyclotron resonance plasma during the etching of Al and resist film by Cl2 and BCl3 plasma was characterized in situ by infrared reflection absorption (IRA) spectroscopy and quadrupole mass spectrometry (QMS). The plasma was generated in a chamber with a structure similar to a conventional production machine. Incident ions and molecules impacting onto a quartz surface at the chamber wall were analyzed by QMS. Then the residue formed on a quartz film on a sample mounted on the chamber wall was analyzed by IRA spectroscopy. The residue was identified as B2O3 which is formed by incident boron chloride ions that diffuse down through the B2O3 residue to the quartz surface and, there, thermally react with OH in the quartz. The residue film produced on the quartz surface could be identified by etching a 1-μm-thick Al film ten times at the etching rate of 12 nm/s. This combination of IRA and QMS is a promising technique for refining on-line etching by residue control. © 2001 American Vacuum Society.