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Publication numberUS20010001735 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/237,495
Publication dateMay 24, 2001
Filing dateJan 25, 1999
Priority dateJan 25, 1999
Also published asUS6290631
Publication number09237495, 237495, US 2001/0001735 A1, US 2001/001735 A1, US 20010001735 A1, US 20010001735A1, US 2001001735 A1, US 2001001735A1, US-A1-20010001735, US-A1-2001001735, US2001/0001735A1, US2001/001735A1, US20010001735 A1, US20010001735A1, US2001001735 A1, US2001001735A1
InventorsChih-Hsun Chu, Chin-Hung Tseng
Original AssigneeChih-Hsun Chu, Chin-Hung Tseng
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for restoring an alignment mark after planarization of a dielectric layer
US 20010001735 A1
Abstract
A method for recovering the alignment mark on a substrate to the top of a dielectric layer. The method includes the steps of forming a dielectric layer over a substrate, and then forming a cap layer over the dielectric layer. The cap layer fills the trench in the dielectric layer directly above the alignment mark and covers the area surrounding the trench. Thereafter, a global planarization is carried out to remove the top portion of the cap layer. Finally, the remaining portion of the cap layer is removed to expose the dielectric layer so that an alignment mark re-emerges on top of the dielectric layer.
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Claims(26)
What is claimed is:
1. A method for recovering the alignment mark on a substrate to the top of a dielectric layer, comprising the steps of:
providing a substrate having an alignment mark thereon;
forming a dielectric layer over the substrate such that a trench is formed directly above the alignment mark;
forming a cap layer over the dielectric layer;
performing a global planarization of the cap layer while retaining a portion of the cap layer over the trench and its surrounding area; and
removing the cap layer to expose the dielectric layer so that an alignment mark re-emerges on top of the dielectric layer.
2. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the step of forming the dielectric layer includes depositing dielectric material to form an inter-layer dielectric layer.
3. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the step of forming the dielectric layer includes depositing dielectric material to form an inter-metal dielectric layer.
4. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the step of forming the dielectric layer includes depositing dielectric material to form an inter-polysilicon dielectric layer.
5. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the cap layer and the dielectric layer each has a different etching rate.
6. The method of
claim 2
, wherein the cap layer and the dielectric layer each has a different etching rate.
7. The method of
claim 3
, wherein the cap layer and the dielectric layer each has a different etching rate.
8. The method of
claim 4
, wherein the cap layer and the dielectric layer each has a different etching rate.
9. The method of
claim 5
, wherein the step of forming the cap layer includes depositing silicon nitride.
10. The method of
claim 5
, wherein the step of forming the cap layer includes depositing polysilicon.
11. The method of
claim 5
, wherein the step of forming the cap layer includes depositing amorphous silicon.
12. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the step of performing a global planarization of the cap layer includes using chemical-mechanical polishing.
13. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the thickness of the cap layer within the trench and its surrounding area after the global planarization is about 500 Å.
14. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the step of removing the cap layer includes using reactive ion etching.
15. The method of
claim 1
, wherein after the step of performing a global planarization of the cap layer but before the step of removing the cap layer, further includes forming a conductive plug in the dielectric layer.
16. A method for recovering the alignment mark on a substrate to the top of a dielectric layer, comprising the steps of:
providing a substrate having an alignment mark thereon;
forming a dielectric layer over the substrate such that a trench is formed directly above the alignment mark;
forming a cap layer over the dielectric layer;
performing a global planarization of the cap layer retaining a portion of the cap layer over the trench and its surrounding area;
forming a conductive plug in the dielectric layer; and
removing the cap layer to expose the dielectric layer so that an alignment mark re-emerges on top of the dielectric layer.
17. The method of
claim 16
, wherein the step of forming the dielectric layer includes depositing dielectric material to form an inter-layer dielectric layer.
18. The method of
claim 16
, wherein the step of forming the dielectric layer includes depositing dielectric material to form an inter-metal dielectric layer.
19. The method of
claim 16
, wherein the step of forming the dielectric layer includes depositing dielectric material to form an inter-polysilicon dielectric layer.
20. The method of
claim 16
, wherein the cap layer and the dielectric layer each has a different etching rate.
21. The method of
claim 20
, wherein the step of forming the cap layer includes depositing silicon nitride.
22. The method of
claim 20
, wherein the step of forming the cap layer includes depositing polysilicon.
23. The method of
claim 20
, wherein the step of forming the cap layer includes depositing amorphous silicon.
24. The method of
claim 16
, wherein the step of performing a global planarization of the cap layer includes using chemical-mechanical polishing.
25. The method of
claim 16
, wherein the thickness of the cap layer within the trench and its surrounding area after the global planarization is about 500 Å.
26. The method of
claim 16
, wherein the step of removing the cap layer includes using a reactive ion etching method.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a method for forming an integrated circuit device. More particularly, the present invention relates to a method capable of restoring the alignment mark on a substrate to the top of a dielectric layer after planarization.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] Photolithography is a critical process in the fabrication of semiconductor devices. Depending on the complexity of the semiconductor device, the number of photoresist depositions and light exposure operations ranges from 10 to 18. Hence, in order to transfer correctly a pattern to a wafer, the photomask must be properly aligned before the photoresist is exposed to light.

[0005] In conventional photo-exposure operation, alignment marks must be formed on the silicon wafer so that the alignment marks are able to match with the corresponding marks on the photomask. Step height of an alignment mark is capable of providing a scattering field or a diffraction edge. When a laser light source, for example, a helium-neon (He-Ne) laser having a wavelength of 635 nm shines on the alignment mark, a diffraction pattern is generated. The diffraction pattern can be reflected back and intercepted by an alignment sensor or a first order diffraction interferometer alignment system for recording the positional data. However, if the step height of the alignment mark on the wafer is below a threshold of 200 Å, for example, the amount of diffraction generated by the alignment mark is too small to produce a strong alignment signal. In other words, when the noise ratio is too big, return signal from the alignment mark is too weak for the alignment sensor to determine the correct position.

[0006]FIGS. 1A through 1C are cross-sectional views showing the steps according to a conventional method of fabricating a semiconductor device. First, as shown in FIG. 1A, a local oxidation of silicon (LOCOS) method or a shallow trench isolation (STI) method is used to provide an isolation region 102 on a substrate 100. Thereafter, an alignment mark 106 is formed by etching the substrate 100 to form a trench 104. The step height 170 or the difference in height level between the upper surface 160 of the substrate 100 and the bottom 150 of the trench 104 is roughly 1000 Å. Next, a gate terminal 108 and two source/drain regions 110 are formed in sequence within the active device area bounded by the isolation structure 102. Hence, a field effect transistor 112 is formed. Then, a dielectric layer 114 is formed over the substrate 100 for isolating the field effect transistor 112 from a subsequently formed conductive layer. The dielectric layer 114 can be a silicon oxide layer or a borophosphosilicate glass (BPSG) layer formed using, for example, chemical vapor deposition (CVD).

[0007] Next, as shown in FIG. 1B, the dielectric layer 114 is etched to form a contact opening 120 that exposes one of the source/drain regions 110. Thereafter, conductive material such as tungsten is deposited, filling the contact opening 120 and covering the dielectric layer 114 to form a conductive layer 122. The conductive layer 122 couples electrically with the source drain region 110.

[0008] Next, as shown in FIG. 1C, a portion of the conductive layer 122 is removed to form a conductive plug 122 a that couples electrically with the source/drain region 110. In the subsequent step, another conductive layer is formed over the dielectric layer 114, and the conductive layer is patterned to form a conductive layer 124 directly above the conductive plug 122 a. Furthermore, another conductive layer 126 is formed above the alignment mark 106.

[0009] The aforementioned method is capable of transferring the alignment mark 106 from the substrate 100 to the dielectric layer 114 and then from the dielectric layer to the conductive layer 126. However, as the degree of integration for integrated circuit devices rises, the number of photoresist depositions and light exposure operations necessary for fabricating the devices will increase correspondingly. To minimize inaccuracy in pattern transfer resulting from a rugged dielectric surface, the dielectric layer 114 is usually planarized using a chemical-mechanical polishing method immediately after its is formed. In general, besides reducing processing difficulties in subsequent operation, planarization of the dielectric layer 114 is able to increase pattern transfer precision in photolithographic processes. FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional view showing the structure after the dielectric layer 114 in FIG. 1A is planarized.

[0010] After the dielectric layer 114 is planarized to form a dielectric layer 114 a, a conductive plug 122 a is formed within the planarized dielectric layer 114 a as shown in FIG. 2B. Thereafter, a conductive layer 123 is formed over the dielectric layer 114 a, and then photolithographic and etching operations are conducted to pattern the conductive layer 123. Consequently, a conductive layer 124 is formed that couples electrically with the conductive plug 122 a as shown in FIG. 2C. Because step height 170 of the alignment mark 106 is already lost after the planarization of the dielectric layer 114 a, the conductive layer 123 that covers the planarized dielectric layer 114 a does not have any step height markings for alignment. To provide the necessary alignment marks for subsequent process, a photoresist layer has to be deposited over the conductive layer 123, and then photomask pattern has to be transferred to the photoresist layer. Finally, a portion of the conductive layer 123 above the alignment mark 106 is etched so that the alignment mark 106 reappears above the dielectric layer 114 a. However, the above process of recovering lost alignment marks will increases the number of additional photomask-making and etching operations, thereby increasing production cost and manufacturing time.

[0011] In light of the foregoing, there is a need to provide an improved method of recovering the lost alignment mark above the dielectric layer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] Accordingly, the present invention is to provide a method for restoring the alignment mark on a substrate to the top of a dielectric layer after planarization. The method is capable of restoring the alignment mark on the substrate after the formation of a conductive plug and the planarization of the dielectric layer without additional photolithographic and etching operations. The restored alignment mark is formed on the upper surface of the planarized dielectric layer.

[0013] To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, the invention provides a method for restoring the alignment mark from the substrate to the top of a dielectric layer after planarization. The method includes the steps of forming a dielectric layer over a substrate, and then forming a cap layer over the dielectric layer. The cap layer fills the trench on the upper surface of the dielectric layer directly above the alignment mark and covers the surrounding trench region. Thereafter, a global planarization is carried out to remove the top portion of the cap layer. Finally, the remaining portion of the cap layer is removed so that an alignment mark re-emerges on top of the dielectric layer.

[0014] It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary, and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings,

[0016]FIGS. 1A through 1C are schematic, cross-sectional views showing the steps according to a conventional method of fabricating a semiconductor device;

[0017]FIGS. 2A through 2C are schematic, cross-sectional views showing the steps according to a conventional method of fabricating a semiconductor device after planarizing the structure as shown in FIG. 1A; and

[0018]FIGS. 3A through 3F are schematic, cross-sectional views showing the steps in fabricating a semiconductor device having an alignment mark on top of the dielectric layer recovered from the substrate according to one preferred embodiment of this invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0019] Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers are used in the drawings and the description to refer to the same or like parts.

[0020]FIGS. 3A through 3F are schematic, cross-sectional views showing the steps in fabricating a semiconductor device having an alignment mark on top of the dielectric layer recovered from the substrate according to one preferred embodiment of this invention. First, as shown in FIG. 3A, an isolation region 302 is formed in a substrate 300. Then, an alignment mark 306 is formed in the substrate 300 by etching out a trench 304. Next, a gate terminal 308 and two source/drain regions 310 are formed in sequence within the active device area bounded by the isolation structure 302. Hence, a field effect transistor 312 is formed. In general, the isolation region 302 can be a pattern of field oxide layer for marking out the active device region. The pattern of field oxide layer is formed using a local oxidation of silicon (LOCOS) method, for example. Alternatively, the isolation region 302 can be shallow trench isolation (STI) formed by etching out a trench in the substrate 300 and then depositing oxide into the trench using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method. The step height 370 or the difference in height level between the upper surface 360 of the substrate 300 and the bottom 350 of the trench 304 is roughly 1000 Å.

[0021] Next, as shown in FIG. 3B, an inter-layer dielectric (ILD) layer 314 is formed over the substrate 300. The ILD layer 314 is used to isolate the field effect transistor 312 and a subsequently deposited conductive layer. Since the bottom 350 of the alignment mark 306 is at a lower level than the upper surface 360 of the substrate 300, a trench 316 will form directly above the alignment mark 306. In general, the trench 316 has a step height 375 similar in magnitude to the original step height 370 of the alignment mark 306. In the subsequent step, a cap layer 318 is formed over the ILD layer 314. The cap layer fills the trench 316 and its surrounding region 317. The ILD layer 314 can be a silicon oxide layer or a borophosphosilicate glass (BPSG) layer formed using, for example, chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The cap layer 318 should be formed from a material having an etching rate that differs from the ILD layer 314. If the ILD layer is a silicon oxide layer, the cap layer 318 is preferably a silicon nitride layer, a polysilicon layer or an amorphous silicon layer. The cap layer 318 can be formed using chemical vapor deposition (CVD), as well.

[0022] Thereafter, as shown in FIG. 3C, a portion of the ILD layer 314 and a portion of the cap layer 318 are removed by performing a global planarization operation, for example, a chemical-mechanical polishing operation. Preferably, the planarized cap layer 318 a still covers the trench 316 and its peripheral region 317 entirely, but the thickness of the cap layer in the peripheral region 317 should be as thin as possible. For example, thickness of the cap layer in the peripheral region 317 should be smaller than 300 Å. Next, the cap layer 318 a and the ILD layer 314 a are patterned to form a contact opening 320 that exposes one of the source/drain regions 310. Then, conductive material is deposited filling the contact opening 320 and covering the ILD layer 314 a as well as the cap layer 318 a to form a conductive layer 322. Hence, an electrical connection with the source/drain region 310 is formed. The conductive layer 322 can be a tungsten layer, for example. Furthermore, a titanium/titanium nitride glue layer can be formed prior to the deposition of tungsten using chemical vapor deposition (CVD) so that adhesion between the tungsten layer and the ILD layer 314 a is increased.

[0023] Next, as shown in FIG. 3D, the conductive layer 322 above the ILD layer 314 a and the cap layer 318 a is removed to form a conductive plug 322 a that couples electrically with the source/drain region 310. The conductive layer 322 can be removed using, for example, chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP). Thereafter, the cap layer 318 a is removed to expose the dielectric layer 314 a including the trench 316. The cap layer 318 a can be removed in an anisotropic etching operation using, for example, a reactive ion etching (RIE) method.

[0024] Since a layer of cap material still covers the trench 316 and its surrounding region 317 after performing the global planarization operation, a step height 375 in the dielectric layer 314 a having a magnitude similar to the step height 370 in the substrate will be restored after the removal of the cap layer 318 a. Therefore, the original alignment mark 306 in the substrate 300 having a step height 370 re-emerges as an alignment mark 316 having similar step height 375 above the dielectric layer 310 a.

[0025] Next, as shown in FIG. 3E, another conductive layer 323 is formed over the ILD layer 314 a. The conductive layer 323 can be an aluminum layer formed using physical vapor deposition (PVD).

[0026] Finally, as shown in FIG. 3F, the conductive layer 323 is patterned to form a conductive layer 324 that couples electrically with the conductive plug 322 a and a conductive layer 326 over the dielectric layer 314 a above the alignment mark 306. The conductive layer 326 has a trench having a step height 380 similar in magnitude to the step height 370 of the alignment mark 306.

[0027] In summary, major aspects of this invention include the capacity to restore the alignment mark on the substrate to the top of the dielectric layer without having to perform additional photolithographic and etching operations. Therefore, the method is capable of saving production time and increasing productivity. Furthermore, although an alignment mark is formed on an inter-layer dielectric layer in the above illustration, the same method can be applied equally to form an alignment mark on inter-metal dielectric (IMD) layer or on an inter-polysilicon dielectric (IPD) layer, as well.

[0028] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the structure of the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. In view of the foregoing, it is intended that the present invention cover modifications and variations of this invention provided they fall within the scope of the following claims and their equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6858441 *Sep 4, 2002Feb 22, 2005Infineon Technologies AgMRAM MTJ stack to conductive line alignment method
US6979526Jun 3, 2002Dec 27, 2005Infineon Technologies AgLithography alignment and overlay measurement marks formed by resist mask blocking for MRAMs
US7442624Aug 2, 2004Oct 28, 2008Infineon Technologies AgDeep alignment marks on edge chips for subsequent alignment of opaque layers
US20100320613 *Aug 11, 2010Dec 23, 2010Infineon Technologies AgIntegrated circuit arrangement with an auxiliary indentation, particularly with aligning marks
Classifications
U.S. Classification438/690, 257/E23.179
International ClassificationH01L23/544
Cooperative ClassificationY10S438/975, H01L23/544, H01L2223/54453, H01L2223/54426
European ClassificationH01L23/544
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 26, 2013FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Sep 27, 2008FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Mar 4, 2005FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Jan 24, 2000ASAssignment
Owner name: UNITED MICROELECTRONICS CORP., TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:UNITED SILICON INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:010557/0613
Effective date: 19991227
Owner name: UNITED MICROELECTRONICS CORP. SCIENCE-BASED INDUST
Jan 25, 1999ASAssignment
Owner name: UNITED SILICON INCORPORATED, TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHU, CHIH-HSUN;TSENG, CHIN-HUNG;REEL/FRAME:009728/0162
Effective date: 19981218