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Imec demos damage-free cryogenic etching of ultra low-k mat'l

Posted: 11 Jul 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cryogenic etching? ultra low-k dielectrics? organosilicate?

Imec has announced a cryogenic etching method that protects the surface of porous ultra low-k dielectrics against excessive plasma induced damages. According to the organisation, the method will allow IC manufacturers to reach scaling levels at 20nm and beyond, without compromising speed and device cross-talk.

To bypass damages caused by plasma etching (through the exposure of dielectrics to active plasma radicals that penetrate deeply into the porous substrate, which then react and change the composition of the dielectric), Imec developed a new cryogenic etching method. By applying very low (cryogenic) temperatures during etching, a condensation of etch products in the pores of the low-k material, results in a protection of the dielectrics' surface. Imec demonstrated the method on a porous organosilicate (OSG) film. The results showed that no carbon depletion occurred when the wafer temperature remained below a certain critical level during plasma etching.

Etching at cryogenic temperature results in targeted k-value

Table 1: Etching at cryogenic temperature results in targeted k-value. Source: GREMI.

"Our cryogenic etch method solves a key issue to further advancing scaling limits. It overcomes the disadvantages of current methods used to reduce plasma induced damage, such as dielectric etch at regular temperatures or low-k repair or high temperature pore stuffing, and it enables sub k=2.0 materials for integration," stated Zsolt Tokei, programme director interconnect at Imec. "Our method is a true solution to further drive the development of next-generation, deeply-scaled technologies."

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