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23 June 2000 Process characterization of an aqueous developable photosensitive polyimide on a broadband stepper
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The number of lithographic applications that require the use of photosensitive polyimides is rapidly increasing. The major applications for photosensitive polyimides include flip chip bumping, advanced packaging, passivation stress buffer relief and interlevel dielectric films. The thickness requirements for these applications can vary from less than 1 micron to more than 20 microns. For processing simplicity and total cost of ownership, it is desirable to use an aqueous developable polyimide to maintain compatibility with standard photoresist processes. Optical steppers offer significant advantages for processing thick photosensitive polyimides due to the tighter overlay and improved critical dimension (CD) control possible with these lithography tools versus contact printers or full wafer scanners. A stepper has an additional advantage with thick polyimide structures since the focus can be adjusted at various levels into the film, which will result in improved wall angles and enhanced aspect ratios. For this study the performance of a commercially available, positive acting, aqueous developable polyimide is examined over a range of thicknesses using a novel broadband exposure system. This stepper exposes photosensitive films using the full mercury vapor spectrum output from 350 nm to 450 nm (g, h and i line) and allows rapid exposure of both broadband as well as narrow spectral sensitive films. The system has been optimized for thick photoresists and polyimides and uses a combination of low numerical aperture with maximum wafer level intensity to achieve well formed images in thick films yet offers the advantages of tighter CD control and tight overlay inherent in projection optics. Basic photoresist characterization techniques established for thin films in IC manufacturing are applied to the photosensitive polyimide films. Cross sectional SEM analysis, process linearity and process windows are used to establish relative lithographic capabilities for different polyimide thicknesses and stepper exposure wavelengths. The trade-offs for each of the various process capability windows are reviewed to determine the optimum process conditions for different polyimide applications.
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Warren W. Flack, Scott Kulas, and Craig L. Franklin "Process characterization of an aqueous developable photosensitive polyimide on a broadband stepper", Proc. SPIE 3999, Advances in Resist Technology and Processing XVII, (23 June 2000);

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