US 20050181129 A1
A delivery system and method for vaporizing and delivery of vaporized solid and liquid precursor materials at sub-atmospheric pressures between a heatable vaporization vessel and a processing tool. The system includes a pressure regulator internally positioned within the vaporization vessel and in fluid communication with a downstream mass flow controller to maintain a consistent flow of vaporized source material. The system further comprises introducing a carrier/diluent gas for diluting the vaporized source material before entry into the processing tool. A venturi is positioned directly upstream of the processing tool and provides for mixing of the carrier gas with the vaporized source material while providing the negative pressure required to open the gas pressure regulator within the vaporization vessel.
1. A method for delivering a vaporized source material to a processing tool, the method comprising:
a) heating a source material in a vaporization vessel to generate a vaporized source material;
b) releasing the vaporized source material through a gas pressure regulator, wherein the pressure regulator is positioned within the vaporization vessel and pre-set to release the vaporized source material at a sensed sub-atmospheric pressure level downstream from the vaporization vessel;
c) flowing the vaporized source material to a downstream processing tool via a connecting line;
d) adjusting the flow rate of the vaporized source material by passing through a mass flow controller positioned upstream from the processing tool; and
e) introducing a carrier/diluent gas to the connecting line for diluting the vaporized source material before delivery into the processing tool.
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7. The method according to claims 1, further comprising sensing the pressure in the processing tool with a pressure sensor.
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11. A vapor delivery system for vaporization and sub-atmospheric delivery of a vaporized source material, comprising:
a) a heatable vaporization vessel for holding and heating a vaporizable source material;
b) a pressure regulator positioned within the heatable vaporization vessel, wherein the gas pressure regulator is preset to open and release vaporized source material from the heatable vaporization vessel when sensing a downstream subatmospheric pressure level equal to or lower than a preset pressure level;
c) a processing tool positioned downstream and in fluid communication with the gas pressure regulator; and
d) a venturi positioned downstream of the heatable vaporization vessel to provide negative pressure to open the pressure regulator.
12. A vapor delivery system for vaporization and sub-atmospheric delivery of a vaporized source material, comprising:
a) a vaporization vessel enclosing an interior volume, wherein the vessel includes a heating means for vaporizing a source material, a fill port for introducing source material and an outlet port for discharged vaporized source material;
b) a gas pressure regulator positioned within the vaporization vessel, wherein the gas pressure regulator is set to release vaporized source material at a predetermined subatmospheric pressure;
c) a processing tool positioned downstream from the vaporization vessel;
d) at least one connecting vapor line positioned between the vaporization vessel and processing tool and in fluid communication therewith; and
e) a mass flow controller in fluid communication with the connecting vapor line to establish a flow rate of the discharged vaporized source material into the downstream processing tool; and
f) a vacuum pump communicatively connected to the connecting vapor line and positioned to maintain pressure within the connecting vapor line at a pressure sufficient to release vaporized source material from the vaporization vessel through the gas pressure regulator.
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This is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/369,829 filed in the name of Karl W. Olander on Feb. 19, 2003 and entitled “SUB-ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE DELIVERY OF LIQUIDS, SOLIDS AND LOW VAPOR PRESSURE GASES.”
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a vapor delivery system and method of use, and more particularly, to a delivery system for vaporized liquids, solids or low vapor pressure gases at sub-atmospheric pressures for use in metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) processes.
2. Description of the Related Art
MOCVD and CVD have been extensively used for preparation of films and coatings in semiconductor wafer processing. These deposition processes are favored because of their ability to provide highly conformal and high quality films, at relatively fast processing times. Further, these deposition processes are beneficial in coating substrates of irregular shapes including the provision of highly conformal films even with respect to deep contacts and other openings.
In general, CVD techniques involve the delivery of vapor phase reactants to the surface of a substrate where chemical reactions take place under temperature and pressure conditions that are favorable to the thermodynamics of the desired reaction. Some of the gases utilized for CVD techniques originate as liquids or solids and must be evaporated and transported in their vapor state to the reaction chamber.
The type and composition of the layers that can be formed using CVD is limited by the ability to deliver the reactants or reactant precursors to the surface of the substrate. Typically, in a liquid/solid delivery system, a carrier gas is passed through a vaporizing vessel containing a low vapor pressure material. The carrier gas dissolves the material and transports the vapors to the reaction chamber. The carrier gas is typically bubbled at a controlled rate through the storage vessel so as to saturate the carrier gas with vaporized reactant and the saturated carrier gas is then transported to the reaction chamber.
However, if the low vapor pressure material is a solid material, the carrier gas can bore a hole thru the bulk material, such that, the carrier gas tunnels thru the solid material and ultimately does not maintain a consistent concentration. This can cause inconsistency in flow rates of a vaporized source material because the consistency of flow is dependent on sufficient contact of the carrier gas with the liquid or solid source materials. When inconsistencies in the flow rate occur, the flow rate and temperature can be increased but at the cost of reduced lifetime of the system. Further, additional analytical instruments must be included in the system to assure that the correct concentration is being introduced into the reaction vessel.
Accordingly, there is a need in the art for a delivery system that efficiently vaporizes solid and/or liquid precursor materials without the disadvantages of the prior art, such as condensation of vaporized precursor in the lines connecting the vaporizing chamber to the processing chamber, inconsistent vapor flow to downstream deposition systems resulting from tunneling of the carrier gases upon extended contact with the precursor material, and/or additional operating costs due to installation and maintenance of additional valves and analytical tools.
The present invention relates to a delivery system and method for vaporizing and delivery of vaporized solid or liquid precursor materials at sub-atmospheric pressures having particular utility for semiconductor manufacturing applications.
In one aspect, the present invention relates to a vapor delivery system for vaporization and sub-atmospheric delivery of a vaporized source material, comprising:
The present embodiment may further comprise:
The processing tool may function at a lower sub-atmospheric pressure than that set in the gas pressure regulator thereby causing the gas pressure regulator to switch on and permit the vaporized source material to flow from the vaporization vessel. In the alternative, if the pressure is higher in the processing tool, the use of a venturi will act as a vacuum generator to provide sufficiently low pressure to actuate the pressure regulator within the vaporizer vessel thereby releasing the vaporized source material. Still further, in some conditions the use of a venturi may not be adequate to sufficiently reduce the pressure in the system and the use of vacuum pump, preferably a turbo pump connected via a manifold to a storage vessel, may be utilized to reduce the pressure in the connecting line. In all the alternative ways, the present invention eliminates the need for introducing a carrier gas directly into the vaporization vessel thereby reducing the inherent problems of tunneling within the bulk material.
In another aspect, the present invention relates to a vapor delivery system for vaporization and sub-atmospheric delivery of a vaporized source material, comprising:
In yet a further aspect, the present embodiment further comprises a means for heating the connecting vapor line to reduce deposition or condensation of the vaporized source material in the connecting line.
In yet another aspect, the present invention relates to a vapor delivery system for vaporization and sub-atmospheric delivery of a vaporized source material, comprising:
As described more fully hereinafter, the precursor may comprise a solid or liquid source material including, but are not limited to, decaborane, hafnium tetrachloride, zirconium tetrachloride, indium trichloride, metalorganic β-diketonate complexes, tungsten hexafluoride, cyclopentadienylcycloheptatrienyl-titanium (CpTiCht), aluminum trichloride, titanium iodide, cyclooctatetraenecyclo-pentadienyltitanium, biscyclopentadienyltitaniumdiazide, trimethyl gallium, trimethyl indium, aluminum alkyls like trimethylaluminum, triethylaluminum, trimethylamine alane, dimethyl zinc, tetramethyl tin, trimethyl antimony, diethyl cadmium and tungsten carbonyl.
In yet another aspect, the present invention provides a method for delivering a vaporized source material to a processing tool, the method comprising:
Other aspects and features of the invention will be more fully apparent from the ensuing disclosure and appended claims.
The present invention is based on the discovery that delivery of a vaporized source material to a processing tool is optimized by flowing the vaporized source material between the vaporization vessel and the processing tool through a pressure differential, wherein the pressure of the vaporized source material leaving the vaporization vessel is at a higher subatmospheric pressure value than that downstream of the vaporization vessel. If the pressure differential is sufficient the need for a carrier gas and/or trace heating connecting flow lines may be eliminated. Further, the delivery system of the present invention, operating at sub-atmospheric pressures, introduces additional safety and control advantages. As the system is operated under a vacuum, releases—should they occur—are contained within the delivery system, and as such, exposure to workers from such incidents related to loss of integrity of the flow circuit system is almost non-existent. Additionally, it is not necessary to flow a carrier gas through the vaporization vessel thereby eliminating any tunneling effects into the source material and providing for a more consistent concentration of the vaporized source material.
Still further, the utilization of an internal gas pressure regulator provides for assurances that flow from the vaporization vessel ceases when the pressure within the vaporization vessel falls below the desired operating pressure of the gas pressure regulator.
A sub-atmospheric delivery system in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention and illustrated in
Surrounding at least the bottom and a portion of the sidewall of the vessel is a heating device 18. Any heating device that increases the temperature within the vessel to a temperature sufficient to vaporize the desired precursor source material 17 may be used in the present invention. For example, the heating device may include a constant temperature bath, i.e., a water or glycol/water recirculating units.
Disposed in the outlet port 21 of the vessel 12 is a removable valve head assembly comprising primary valve 20 communicating with valve outlet 22, from which vapor is discharged from the vessel. Preferably, the valve 20 is fitted with a flange thereby allowing the opening of the vaporization vessel for recharging or removal and/or replacing of the internal pressure regulator. The valve 20 is in gas flow communication with a gas pressure regulator 26, which may be a conventional type employing a poppet element which may, for example, be spring biased in a closed condition and wherein the poppet is subject to displacement when the pressure differential across the poppet element exceeds a certain level. In the present invention the pressure regulator 26 is set a sub-atmospheric pressure value, e.g., 300 to 700 Torr, and more preferably, about 350 to 450 Torr. The specific pressure level is chosen with respect to the liquid or solid contained in the vessel and as appropriate to the deposition process. Thus, the vaporized source material will not be released from the vaporization vessel until a subatmospheric pressure equal to or less than the set pressure is sensed by the pressure regulator.
In one particular embodiment of the present invention, a vaporizable source material is heated in vessel 12 and the vapors derived therefrom are discharged through the pressure regulator 26 and valve 20 to semiconductor processing tool 28 via vapor connecting line 27. The vapor connecting line 27 includes pressure transducers 40 and 50 to monitor the pressure of vapors flowing through the connecting line and positioned before and after venturi 46. The connecting line further comprises several isolation valves 31 and 33 positioned on opposite sides of a mass flow controller (MFC) 32. The currently illustrated embodiment is horizontally aligned, however, the inventors further contemplate vertical alignment of the individual vaporization vessel and processing tool. Preferably, the length of vapor connecting line 27 that connects the vaporization vessel 12 and processing tool 28 is restricted to a length that maintains the velocity of the flowing vapors therein and reduces condensation of vapor within the connecting line. More preferably, the length of the connecting line between the processing tool and the vaporization vessel is approximately one to six feet, and more preferably from about two to three feet, so that the source of vaporized material is located in close proximity to the processing tool. The length of the vapor connecting line and/or pressure differential between the vaporization vessel and processing tool will determine if the connecting line requires heat tracing. As the length of the connecting line increases, the lines may require additional heating to prevent condensation or deposition of the vaporized source material within the connecting line.
With continuing reference to
The system further comprises venturi 46 positioned in the connecting line 27 between the mass flow controller 32 and the processing tool 28 that acts as a vacuum generator and provides the negative pressure to open the pressure regulator located within the vaporization vessel to release the vaporize source material from the vaporization vessel. Maintaining a reduced sub-atmospheric pressure relative to the pressure of the vapors upstream at the pressure regulator provides for continuous release of the vaporized source materials from the vaporization vessel and reduces the vapor condensation as it flows to the processing tool. Depending on the source material and deposition process, the pressure in the processing tool is preferably at least 50 to 500 Torr less than that upstream to insure a stable, repeatable and accurate flow of the vaporized materials that is unaffected by downstream pressure fluctuations and without forming condensation of vaporized source material in the connecting lines. Preferably, the pressure in the processing tool is maintained at a sub-atmospheric pressure from about 1×10−2 Torr to about 760 Torr
The venturi 46 also functions as a carrier/diluent gas mixing system to provide a sufficient amount of carrier gas to mix with the vaporized source material before introduction into the processing tool. Carrier gases are added to help insure an even concentration in the processing tool and to power the venturi. A carrier/diluent gas source 43 contains the carrier gas for flowing through the venturi and into the processing tool 28 via carrier gas line 49. Preferably, the carrier/diluent gas is maintained at a pressure in a range from about 40 to about 70 psig and flowed at a rate in a range from about 20 to about 40 slpm. As such, the carrier/diluent gas in line 49 is at a positive pressure. The carrier gas can be flowed through a mass flow controller 44 to insure that the flow of gas is sufficient to provide required concentration of carrier gas/vaporized source material into the processing tool. The carrier/diluent gas line 49 may further comprise isolation valves 45 and 47 positioned before and after the mass flow controller, respectively. Additionally a heating means may be connected to the carrier/diluent gas line to maintain an adequate temperature to ensure the source material remains in a vaporized state.
Any carrier gas may be used in the present system, and preferably, the carrier gas does not chemically react with the vaporized source material thereby reducing formation of unwanted byproducts or deposition of unwanted byproducts within the processing tool.
In an alternative embodiment, as shown in
In operation the vaporized liquid or solid material in vaporizer 12 is heated to a temperature to replace the heat of evaporation or sublimation of the source material and to establish a threshold vapor pressure, e.g., about 10 to about 30 torr. When it is desired to transfer vapors from the vaporization vessel 12, valve actuator 24 is actuated to open valve 20 so that vaporized source material can flow into connecting line 27. This involves opening isolation valves 31 and 33 and activating vacuum generator 46 to communicate with internal pressure regulator 26 thereby permitting vapors derived from the heated source material to flow through the pressure regulator 26 and the valve 20, for egress from the valve head dispensing assembly through outlet 22. The vapors are flowed through vapor connecting line 27 through the mass flow controller and venturi to the processing tool 28.
Concurrently a carrier/diluent gas is introduced to carrier gas line 49, and flowed into the venturi 46 at a pressure and volumetric flow rate to establish a fixed and constant concentration of vaporized source material being flowed into the processing tool.
Accordingly, with continuing reference to
Flow of the vapors between the vaporization vessel and processing tool can be controlled by a CPU 34 with input from pressure sensors PT 40 and 50. As shown in
The present invention may further comprise a diffuser 37 that is coupled with the pressure regulator 26. The diffuser unit has a wall porosity that permits removal of particles greater than a predetermined diameter and may be formed of materials that are capable of withstanding the increased temperature and pressure within the vaporization vessel including high purity stainless or ceramic frits having pore sizes ranging from about 1 to 100 microns. Filter diffuser units of such types are commercially available from Millipore Corporation under the trademark WAFERGUARD. Preferably, the diffuser is a sintered metal filter.