Title
Simultaneous etching and deposition processes during the etching of silicon with a <tex>$Cl_{2}/O_{2}/Ar$</tex> inductively coupled plasma Simultaneous etching and deposition processes during the etching of silicon with a <tex>$Cl_{2}/O_{2}/Ar$</tex> inductively coupled plasma
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Publication type
article
Publication
Weinheim ,
Subject
Physics
Chemistry
Source (journal)
Plasma processes and polymers. - Weinheim
Volume/pages
8(2011) :6 , p. 490-499
ISSN
1612-8850
ISI
000292116800003
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
In this article, surface processes occurring during the etching of Si with a Cl2/O2/Ar plasma are investigated by means of experiments and modeling. Cl2-based plasmas are commonly used to etch silicon, while a small fraction of O2 is added to protect the sidewalls from lateral etching during the shallow trench isolation process. When the oxygen fraction exceeds a critical value, the wafer surface process changes from an etching regime to a deposition regime, drastically reducing the etch rate. This effect is commonly referred to as the etch stop phenomenon. To gain better understanding of this mechanism, the oxygen fraction is varied in the gas mixture and special attention is paid to the effects of oxygen and of the redeposition of non-volatile etched species on the overall etch/deposition process. It is found that, when the O2 flow is increased, the etch process changes from successful etching to the formation of a rough surface, and eventually to the actual growth of an oxide layer which completely blocks the etching of the underlying Si. The size of this etch stop island was found to increase as a function of oxygen flow, while its thickness was dependent on the amount of Si etched. This suggests that the growth of the oxide layer mainly depends on the redeposition of non-volatile etch products. The abrupt change in the etch rate as a function of oxygen fraction was not found back in the oxygen content of the plasma, suggesting the competitive nature between oxidation and chlorination at the wafer. Finally, the wafer and reactor wall compositions were investigated by modeling and it was found that the surface rapidly consisted mainly of SiO2 when the O2 flow was increased above about 15 sccm.
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