23 March 2016 Atomic precision etch using a low-electron temperature plasma
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Abstract
Sub-nm precision is increasingly being required of many critical plasma etching processes in the semiconductor industry. Accurate control over ion energy and ion/radical composition is needed during plasma processing to meet these stringent requirements. Described in this work is a new plasma etch system which has been designed with the requirements of atomic precision plasma processing in mind. In this system, an electron sheet beam parallel to the substrate surface produces a plasma with an order of magnitude lower electron temperature Te (~ 0.3 eV) and ion energy Ei (< 3 eV without applied bias) compared to conventional radio-frequency (RF) plasma technologies. Electron beam plasmas are characterized by higher ion-to-radical fraction compared to RF plasmas, so a separate radical source is used to provide accurate control over relative ion and radical concentrations. Another important element in this plasma system is low frequency RF bias capability which allows control of ion energy in the 2-50 eV range. Presented in this work are the results of etching of a variety of materials and structures performed in this system. In addition to high selectivity and low controllable etch rate, an important requirement of atomic precision etch processes is no (or minimal) damage to the remaining material surface. It has traditionally not been possible to avoid damage in RF plasma processing systems, even during atomic layer etch. The experiments for Si etch in Cl2 based plasmas in the aforementioned etch system show that damage can be minimized if the ion energy is kept below 10 eV. Layer-by-layer etch of Si is also demonstrated in this etch system using electrical and gas pulsing.
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L. Dorf, L. Dorf, J.-C. Wang, J.-C. Wang, S. Rauf, S. Rauf, Y. Zhang, Y. Zhang, A. Agarwal, A. Agarwal, J. Kenney, J. Kenney, K. Ramaswamy, K. Ramaswamy, K. Collins, K. Collins, "Atomic precision etch using a low-electron temperature plasma", Proc. SPIE 9782, Advanced Etch Technology for Nanopatterning V, 97820J (23 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2222309; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2222309
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