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Rectangular trench profiles are modeled with analytic etch rates determined from measured ion distribution functions. The pattern transfer step for this plasma etch is for trilayer lithography. Argon and chlorine angular ion energy distribution functions measured by a spherical collector ring analyzer are fit to a sum of drifting Maxwellian velocity distribution functions with anisotropic temperatures. The fit of the model ion distribution functions by a simulated annealing optimization procedure converges adequately for only two drifting Maxwellians. The etch rates are proportional to analytic expressions for the ion energy flux. Numerical computation of the etch profiles by integration of the characteristic equations for profile points and connection of the profiles points is efficient. © 1999 American Vacuum Society.