The investigations of the (Pb,Sr)TiO3 (PST) etching characteristics in CF4/Ar plasma were carried out using the inductively coupled plasma system. Experiments showed that an increase of the Ar mixing ratio under constant pressure and input power conditions leads to increasing etch rate of PST, which reaches a maximum of 740 Å/min when the Ar is 80% of the gas mixture. To understand the etching mechanism, the surface state of the etched PST samples was investigated using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. It was found that Pb and Ti atoms were removed mainly by the ion-assisted etching mechanism. At the same time, Sr forms extremely low volatile fluorides and therefore can be removed only by physical (sputter) etching. © 2003 American Vacuum Society.