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Quantum cascade laser based monitoring of CF2 radical concentration as a diagnostic tool of dielectric etching plasma processes

: Hübner, M.; Lang, N.; Zimmermann, S.; Schulz, S.E.; Buchholtz, W.; Röpcke, J.; Helden, J.H. van


Applied Physics Letters 106 (2015), No.3, Art. 031102, 4 pp.
ISSN: 0003-6951 (Print)
ISSN: 1077-3118
ISSN: 1931-9401 (online)
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

Dielectric etching plasma processes for modern interlevel dielectrics become more and more complex by the introduction of new ultra low-k dielectrics. One challenge is the minimization of sidewall damage, while etching ultra low-k porous SiCOH by fluorocarbon plasmas. The optimization of this process requires a deeper understanding of the concentration of the CF2 radical, which acts as precursor in the polymerization of the etch sample surfaces. In an industrial dielectric etching plasma reactor, the CF2 radical was measured in situ using a continuous wave quantum cascade laser (cw-QCL) around 1106.2 cm(-1). We measured Doppler-resolved ro-vibrational absorption lines and determined absolute densities using transitions in the nu(3) fundamental band of CF2 with the aid of an improved simulation of the line strengths. We found that the CF2 radical concentration during the etching plasma process directly correlates to the layer structure of the etched wafer. Hence, this correlation can serve as a diagnostic tool of dielectric etching plasma processes. Applying QCL based absorption spectroscopy opens up the way for advanced process monitoring and etching controlling in semiconductor manufacturing.