Thursday, January 23, 2014

A new plasma-enhanced atomic layer etch method delivers atomic-level etch precision

A new plasma-enhanced atomic layer etch method developed by LAM delivers atomic-level etch precision with process times that are practical for use in a manufacturing environment.Moving atomic layer etch from lab to fab

"At the sub-14nm technology node, transistor performance will be highly sensitive to process variations, which can significantly impact current leakage and battery power loss. To give some perspective on the reality of the challenges, within the next 10 years, transistor gate dimensions are expected to be less than 50 atoms wide, and feature size variations will be measured in atoms, including contributions from surface roughness. Atomic layer processes are the most promising path for delivering the precision needed at this scale. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) has been in production for over a decade in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. However, it has been difficult making the etch counterpart — atomic layer etch (ALE) — productive enough for cost-effective manufacturing, and a commercially viable system has not been available. Here, we report on a plasma-enhanced ALE method using a commercial plasma reactor that provides atomic-level precision with process times that are suitable for high-volume device manufacturing."

SEM images of polysilicon trenches etched under comparable process conditions.

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