US 20060201911 A1
Methods of etching a carbon-rich layer on organic photoresist overlying an inorganic layer can utilize a process gas including CxHyFz, where y≧x and z≧0, and one or more optional components to generate a plasma effective to etch the carbon-rich layer with low removal of the inorganic layer. The carbon-rich layer can be removed in the same processing chamber, or alternatively can be removed in a different processing chamber, as used to remove the bulk photoresist.
30. A method of etching an organic photoresist on a substrate, comprising:
positioning a substrate in a plasma processing chamber of a plasma reactor, the substrate including an inorganic layer and an organic photoresist overlying the inorganic layer, the photoresist including a carbon-rich layer overlying bulk photoresist;
supplying a process gas to the plasma processing chamber;
generating a plasma from the process gas in the plasma processing chamber;
selectively etching the carbon-rich layer relative to the inorganic layer while optionally applying an external RF bias to the substrate;
after etching the carbon-rich layer, optionally removing the substrate from the plasma processing chamber and placing the substrate in an ashing chamber;
supplying an ashing gas containing oxygen to (i) the plasma processing chamber or (ii) the ashing chamber, in which the substrate is positioned;
generating a plasma from the ashing gas upstream from the substrate; and
etching the bulk photoresist.
31. The method of
32. The method of
33. The method of
the plasma reactor is an inductively-coupled plasma reactor;
a planar antenna inductively couples RF energy into the plasma processing chamber through a dielectric member; and
the substrate is positioned in the plasma processing chamber facing the dielectric member.
34. The method of
35. The method of
36. The method of
Plasma processing apparatuses are used for processes including plasma etching, physical vapor deposition, chemical vapor deposition (CVD), ion implantation, and resist removal.
Photoresist materials are used in plasma processing operations to pattern materials. Commercial photoresists are blends of polymeric and other organic and inorganic materials. A photoresist is applied onto a substrate, and radiation is passed through a patterned mask to transfer the pattern into the resist layer. The two broad classifications of photoresist are negative-working resist and positive-working resist, which produce negative and positive images, respectively. After being developed, a pattern exists in the photoresist. The patterned photoresist can be used to define features in substrates by etching, as well as to deposit materials onto, or implant materials into, substrates.
Methods for etching organic photoresist on substrates are provided. The methods can selectively etch photoresist relative to the substrate.
A preferred embodiment of the methods of etching organic photoresist on a substrate comprises positioning in a plasma processing chamber a substrate including an inorganic layer and an organic photoresist overlying the inorganic layer, the photoresist including a carbon-rich layer overlying bulk photoresist; supplying to the processing chamber a process gas comprising CxHyFz (where y≧x and z≧0), and at least one of (i) an oxygen-containing gas, and (ii) a hydrogen-containing gas different from CxHyFz; generating a plasma from the process gas; and selectively etching the carbon-rich layer relative to the inorganic layer.
The bulk photoresist can be etched in the same plasma processing chamber that is used to etch the carbon-rich layer. Alternatively, the bulk photoresist can be etched in an ashing chamber. The bulk photoresist preferably is etched using a different chemistry than used to remove the carbon-rich layer.
Another preferred embodiment of the methods of etching organic photoresist on a substrate comprises supplying to a plasma processing chamber a process gas comprising CH3F and at least one of (i) an oxygen-containing gas, and (ii) a hydrogen-containing gas different from CH3F; generating a plasma from the process gas; and selectively etching a carbon-rich layer on the substrate relative to an inorganic layer on the substrate while applying an external RF bias to the substrate.
In integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing processes that utilize ion implantation, shrinking device geometries, increased ion implantation energies and doses, and new materials make it increasingly difficult to produce residue-free devices. Residues remaining from etching and ashing processes can produce undesirable electrical effects and corrosion that reduce product yields. See E. Pavel, “Combining Microwave Downstream and RF Plasma Technology for Etch and Clean Applications,” 196th Meeting of the Electrochemical Society, (October, 1999).
In plasma processing techniques, such as plasma etching and reactive ion etching (RIE), and in ion implantation, photoresist is applied onto a substrate to protect selected regions of the substrate from being exposed to ions and free radicals. Organic polymer compositions have been formulated for such resist applications.
Photoresists are removed, or “stripped,” from the underlying substrate after the substrate has been processed by etching, ion implantation, or the like. It is desirable that the photoresist stripping process leave the substrate surface as clean as possible, desirably without any residual polymer film or resist material. Wet and dry stripping techniques can be used to remove photoresist. Wet stripping techniques use solutions containing organic solvents or acids. Dry stripping (or “ashing”) techniques use an oxygen plasma for photoresist removal.
Ion implantation fabrication techniques are used to dope regions of a substrate with impurities to change the electrical properties of the substrate. Ion implantation can be used as a source of doping atoms, or to introduce regions of different composition in a substrate. During ion implantation, ions are accelerated at a sufficiently high voltage to penetrate the substrate surface to a desired depth. Increasing the accelerating voltage increases the depth of the concentration peak of the impurities.
Regions of the substrate at which implantation is not desired are protected with photoresist. However, the photoresist is modified during implantation, and is rendered more difficult to remove after implantation than a normal (non-implanted) photoresist. Particularly, implanted ions damage regions of the photoresist, thereby breaking near-surface C—H bonds and forming carbon-carbon single and double bonds. The resulting tough, carbon-rich or “carbonized” layer (or “skin” or “crust”) of cross-linked, implanted photoresist encapsulates the distinct underlying bulk photoresist. The thickness of the carbon-rich layer is a function of the implant species, voltage, dose and current. The carbon-rich layer typically has a thickness of from about 200 Å to about 2000 Å. See, A. Kirkpatrick et al., “Eliminating heavily implanted resist in sub-0.25-μm devices,” MICRO, 71 (July/August 1998). According to E. Pavel, as implant doses and energies increase, implanted photoresist can become increasingly more difficult to remove.
Carbon-rich layers can also be formed in organic photoresist during plasma processing techniques, other than ion-implantation techniques, in which ion bombardment of the photoresist also occurs.
Oxygen plasma ashing techniques can remove the carbon-rich layer, but only at a slow rate of about 500 Å/min or less. The etching mechanism of these techniques is the radical reaction of oxygen atoms with hydrocarbons in the photoresist to produce H2O and CO2.
It has been determined that an external bias can be applied to the substrate to enhance the removal rate of the cross-linked layer. The applied bias provides energy to the carbon-rich layer, which breaks carbon single bonds and thereby enhances reactions with oxygen radicals.
However, it has also been determined that applying an external bias to the substrate to enhance photoresist removal can also produce undesired effects.
Another undesirable effect of applying a bias voltage to the substrate for carbon-rich layer removal is that oxygen ions of the plasma may have sufficiently high energy to penetrate the thin inorganic layer and oxidize the underlying silicon.
In light of the above-described findings, it has been determined that process gases including CxHyFx (where y≧x and z≧0) can be used in organic photoresist etching processes to control, and preferably to eliminate, sputtering and re-deposition, as well as growth, of inorganic material. The inorganic material can be, for example, a silicon-containing material (e.g., Si, SiOx [e.g. SiO2], Six Ny [e.g., Si3 N4], Six Oy Nz, and the like), and HfO. The photoresist can be present on various substrate materials including, e.g., silicon, SiO2, Si3N4, and the like.
More particularly, preferred process gases for removing the carbon-rich overlying bulk photoresist include CxHyFz gases (where y≧x and z≧0), e.g., CH2F2 and CH3F, preferably CH3F, and at least one of an oxygen-containing gas and a hydrogen-containing gas that is different from the CxHyFx. The process gas can also include one or more other optional gases, such as N2. Also, the process gas can include one or more inert carrier gases, such as Ar, He, or the like.
The oxygen-containing gas is preferably O2, H2O vapor, or a mixture thereof. The hydrogen-containing gas can be H2, or the like. The gas mixture preferably comprises, by volume, from about 5% to about 30% of CxHyFz (where y≧x and z≧0), and from about 95% to about 70% of at least one of the oxygen-containing gas and the hydrogen-containing gas, and any optional gas. More preferably, the gas mixture comprises at least about 10% CxHyFz (where y≧x and z≧0), with the balance being an oxygen-containing gas, a hydrogen-containing gas or a mixture thereof, and optional gas.
It also has been determined that increasing the volume percentage of CxHyFz in the gas mixture to above a certain volume percentage can result in deposition of a carbon-containing film onto the inorganic layer, rather than in net removal of the inorganic layer (i.e., a decreased thickness of the inorganic layer). However, the volume percentage of CxHyFz in the gas mixture preferably is sufficiently low to avoid incorporating fluorine into the underlying substrate.
It also has been determined that when H2 is used as the hydrogen-containing gas, the carbon-rich layer is softened, making this layer easier to remove by etching.
It has also been determined that process gases including CH3F can be used to remove the carbon-rich layer at a suitably high etch rate and with a suitably high etch rate selectivity relative to the inorganic layer. For example, process gas mixtures containing CH3F and O2 can be used to remove a carbon-rich layer having a thickness of 2000 Å in about 30 seconds or less (i.e., at an etch rate of at least about 4000 Å/min), preferably in about 20 seconds or less (i.e., at an etch rate of at least about 6000 Å/min). During the removal of a carbon-rich layer having a thickness of about 200 to about 2000 Å, it is preferable that the plasma remove less than about 5 Å, more preferably less than about 2 Å, of the exposed inorganic layer.
Other gases that can remove the carbon-rich layer include CF4 and CHF3. However, these gases are not selective with respect to the inorganic layer (e.g., to an SiOx layer). Accordingly, these gases are not preferred for use in photoresist removal processes for which selectivity to the inorganic layer is desired, as these gases may remove more than an acceptable amount of the inorganic layer during removal of the carbon-rich layer.
The photoresist can be any suitable organic polymer composition. For example, the photoresist composition can include a resin of the Novolak class, a polystyrene component, or the like.
To remove the organic photoresist, the process gas including CxHyFz (where y≧x and z≧0), and preferably also at least one of an oxygen-containing gas and a hydrogen-containing gas different from the CxHyFz, is energized to generate a plasma.
The plasma is preferably generated from the process gas by applying radio frequency (RF) to an electrically conductive coil outside of the plasma processing chamber. The wafer is preferably placed in the plasma generation region.
The plasma reactor is preferably an inductively coupled plasma reactor. Embodiments of the methods of removing photoresist from substrates can be performed in an inductively-coupled plasma reactor, such as the reactor 100 shown in
A substrate 116, such as a semiconductor wafer, is supported within the interior 102 of the reactor 100 on a substrate support 118. The substrate support 118 can include a chucking apparatus, such as an electrostatic chuck 120, and the substrate 116 can be surrounded by a dielectric focus ring 122. The chuck 120 can include an RF biasing electrode for applying an RF bias to the substrate during plasma processing of the substrate 116. The process gas supplied by the gas supply 106 can flow through channels between the dielectric window 110 and an underlying gas distribution plate 124 and enter the interior 102 through gas outlets in the plate 124. The reactor can also include a liner 126 extending from the plate 124.
An exemplary plasma reactor that can be used for generating plasma is the 2300 TCP reactor from Lam Research Corporation. Typical operation conditions for the plasma reactor are as follows: from about 500 to about 1000 watts inductive power applied to upper electrode (coil), reaction chamber pressure of from about 15 to about 60 mTorr, and a total process gas flow rate of from about 200 to about 600 sccm.
Embodiments of the methods of removing photoresist from substrates can also be performed in a parallel-plate plasma reactor, such as reactor 200 shown in
During removal of the carbon-rich layer, the substrate is preferably maintained at a sufficiently low temperature on a substrate support to prevent rupturing of the layer. For example, a carbon-rich layer may rupture when solvents in the photoresist composition are volatilized by heating, producing particles that may deposit on the substrate. To avoid such rupturing of the carbon-rich layer, the substrate is preferably maintained at a temperature of less than about 150° C., and more preferably from about 20 to about 75° C., and a chamber pressure of less than about 500 mTorr during etching of the carbon-rich layer.
During etching of the carbon-rich layer, RF bias is preferably applied to the substrate with a bias electrode provided in the substrate support on which the substrate is supported. The RF bias is preferably capacitive. The applied RF bias and the generation of the plasma preferably are independently controllable to independently control ion energy and ion flux, respectively. The RF bias accelerates ions in the plasma and adds energy to the substrate, which increases the removal rate of the carbon-rich layer. The RF bias voltage applied to the substrate is preferably less than about 100 volts (with respect to ground), more preferably less than about 20 volts. It has been unexpectedly determined that the combined use of fluorine in the process gas and an applied RF bias to the substrate is effective to remove the carbon-rich layer at a sufficiently high rate while also providing high selectivity to inorganic material (e.g., oxide) present on the substrate. It has further been determined that at a given volume percentage of CxHyFz included in the process gas, the RF bias can be maintained at a low level that reduces the inorganic material removal rate from the substrate during etching of the carbon-rich layer.
The addition of hydrogen to the process gas used to etch the carbon-rich layer increases the etch rate by reacting with cross-linked carbon. It is believed that fluorine may also enhance the carbon-rich layer etch rate.
The addition of CHx species to the process gas used to etch the carbon-rich layer causes a passivating layer 22 to form on the oxide layer 12 and the photoresist 16 (see
The complete removal of the carbon-rich layer 20 can be detected during the etching process by using an endpoint detection technique, which can deternine the time at which the underlying bulk photoresist is exposed. The endpoint for carbon-rich layer removal is preferably determined by an optical emission technique. For example, the optical emission technique can monitor the emission from carbon monoxide (CO) at a wavelength of about 520 nm. During the removal of the carbon-rich layer, a small CO signal is produced due to the low etch rate. Once the carbon-rich layer is opened, the exposed underlying bulk photoresist is etched at a faster rate than the carbon-rich layer and, consequently, the CO concentration and the corresponding CO signal increase.
After removal of the carbon-rich layer, the underlying bulk photoresist is preferably removed using a different photoresist etch process. For example, the bulk photoresist can be removed by oxygen ashing at a higher temperature than the temperature preferably used during the carbon-rich layer etching step. For example, the substrate temperature can range from about 200° C. to about 280° C. during the bulk photoresist etching step. The chamber pressure is preferably greater than about 500 mTorr during bulk photoresist removal. Oxygen ashing also can achieve a high removal rate of the bulk photoresist. For example, an O2/N2 plasma can remove the bulk photoresist at a rate of from about 4 to about 6 microns/min. An optional over-ash step can also be used. Volatile solvents in the photoresist can be exhausted from the plasma processing chamber as the photoresist is ashed.
The bulk photoresist is preferably removed using a plasma generated upstream from the substrate. The bulk photoresist removal step can be performed in the same processing chamber that is used to etch the carbon-rich layer. Alternatively, the bulk photoresist can be removed by etching in a different processing chamber. That is, the substrate can be removed from the processing chamber after etching the carbon-rich layer, and placed in a different processing chamber to etch the bulk photoresist. Using different processing chambers can obviate changing gas chemistries and/or the substrate temperature during removal of the carbon-rich layer and ashing.
Exemplary process conditions for removing the carbon-rich layer are as follows: chamber pressure of about 90 mTorr, about 1000 Watts of power applied to upper electrode (coil), about 5 Watts of power applied to bias electrode, total process gas flow rate of about 400 sccm, and substrate temperature of about 75° C. Exemplary process conditions for removing bulk photoresist are as follows: chamber pressure of about 1000 mTorr, about 2500 Watts of power applied to the plasma source, total process gas flow rate of about 4400 sccm, and substrate temperature of about 220° C.
Silicon wafers were ion implanted with arsenic at a dose of about 2×1015 atorns/cm2 and at an implantation energy of 40 keV to produce a carbon-rich layer on underlying bulk photoresist. The Table below shows the etch rates that were determined for silicon oxide, bulk photoresist, and the carbon-rich layer at different additions of CH3F (on a volume percent basis) to an O2-containing process gas, which was used to generate plasma to remove the carbon-rich layer. During stripping of the carbon-rich layer, an RF bias at a power level of 5 watts was applied to the substrate.
The bulk photoresist etch rate was estimated by placing a non-implanted organic photoresist having a known thickness in a processing chamber and partially stripping the photoresist. As bulk photoresist is also non-implanted material, the calculated bulk photoresist etch rate approximates the etch rate of bulk photoresist underlying an implanted carbon-rich layer. The carbon-rich layer thickness was measured using an SEM prior to stripping. The carbon-rich layer etch rate was calculated by measuring the endpoint time of the etch, and determining the thickness reduction of the carbon-rich layer.
The test results show that the oxide etch rate increases with a small addition of CH3F, but decreases with increased additions of CH3F. The oxide removal rate is reduced by adding more than 2.5% by volume of CH3F to the process gas. The bulk photoresist etch rate is increased by increasing the volume percent of CH3F. The carbon-rich layer etch rate is also enhanced by the addition of CH3F.
The test results demonstrate the existence of a process regime within which CH3F passivates and protects the SiOx surface from chemical and/or physical attack. The oxide etch rate increases with the addition of CH3F up to a CH3F percentage at which passivation of the inorganic layer is sufficiently large to stop the etching of the inorganic layer. While not wishing to be bound to any particular theory, the enhanced photoresist etch rate is believed to be due to the presence of both H and F radicals in the plasma.
For comparison, gas mixtures containing 10% CF4 (balance O2), and 10% CHF3 (balance O2), were used to generate a plasma and remove the carbon-rich layer on bulk photoresist from ion-implanted silicon wafers. The oxide etch rate for the gas mixture containing CF4 was 27 Å/min, and the oxide etch rate for the gas mixture containing CHF3 was 15 Å/min. These oxide etch rates are too high for photoresist removal processes that have stringent maximum oxide removal specifications, such as those having a maximum oxide etch rate of about 5 Å/min, and especially those having a maximum oxide etch rate of less than about 2 Å/min.
While the invention has been described in detail with reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made, and equivalents employed, without departing from the scope of the appended claims.