New materials require new approaches

By Pete Singer, Editor-in-Chief

Continued advances in the semiconductor will increasingly be enabled by materials technology, versus the scaling that has been commonplace over the last 50 years as defined by Moore’s Law. Yet new materials technology will itself create new challenges, not only in terms of deposition, etching, cleaning, planarization and cleaning, but in terms of handling. “I like to at materials within the context of what a lot of people are describing as the inflection points in the industry,” said Jim O’Neill, Chief Tech- nology Officer at Entegris. “Most materials innovations and new material introductions have been associated with those.”

O’Neill joined Entegris in 2014 as part of the ATMI acquisition. Prior to that, he was director of 14nm technology development at IBM where he led process development activi- ties at both Albany Nanotech and East Fishkill facilities.

“Historically, Moore’s Law has really been about miniaturization, but we’ve run into patterning limitations with wavelengths,” O’Neill said. “We’ve run into mobility problems with the channel ma- terials we now have. In order to maintain the spirit of Moore’s Law, materials have really been front and center.”

Today, materials are being driven most aggressively by multi-patterning: “There’s been a class of materials that have been increasingly emphasized in terms of low temperature silicon for the whole patterning stack,” O’Neill said.

Another key area is the device and the transition from planar to 3D structures, such as finFETs on the transistor side, and 3D NAND on the memory side. “This has put an increased emphasis on deposition and a transition from CVD to ALD type precursors,” O’Neill said. “Also, very specific materials such as fluorine-free tungsten, for example, for 3D NAND.”

New high mobility channel materials are also needed in the frontend. In the back end, there’s whole class of new materials being introduced for interconnects and metallurgies to try to improve RC delay performance and reliability, including cobalt and ruthenium.

One of the biggest challenges with introducing these new materials is that the infrastructure that surrounds them needs need approaches. “What you end up having to do — and what’s so disruptive to our customers — is change the whole integration scheme,” O’Neill said.

In the case of cobalt, for example, clean processes and post-polish process have need to be cobalt-compatible. “You’re not just putting in a new CVD material. You’re putting in that material and changing the enabling infrastructure that surrounds it. That’s a real challenge for our customer, the process integrators and the fab folks. But for us it creates a great opportunity,” O’Neill added.

O’Neill said Entegris’ deposition business is growing, driven to some degree by the increased need for ALD materials for 3D structures, which is the ATMI part of the business. But there are also new challenges in handling those materials. “Many of the precursors that we’re dealing with are solids. The whole challenge of handling solid materials and deriving a gas from a solid that ends up delivering a film on a wafer goes beyond the material itself and deals with the container: Its filtration, its handling. Those are really expertises of the traditional Entegris,” O’Neill said.

Entegris is now working on capabilities that would take the solid precursor in a delivery vessel with the appropriate filtration to remove any entrained particulates in the delivery stream, then sensor monitor capabilities to ensure that there is feed gas flow. “That’s really an entire materials delivery solution focused on enablement and no defectivity,” O’Neill said.

Monday, at SEMICON West, Entegris announced the release of Torrento X Series 7 nm filters with FlowPlane linear filtration technology. FlowPlane is the semiconductor industry’s first scalable, linear, high-flow filtration platform enabling advanced wet cleaning applications for the 10nm node and beyond. The first in a series of filters based on the linear filtration technology, the FlowPlane S model is designed for point of dispense (POD) applications, enabling improvements in both on-wafer defectivity and yield for critical wet cleaning applications.

“We’ve reached an inflection point where filter design must evolve to meet the needs of the most complex semiconductor manufacturing processes,” said Entegris Vice-President of the Liquid Microcontamination Control business unit, Clint Haris. “A filter is the last line of defense to prevent defect-causing contaminants from reaching the wafer. Our smaller, more powerful filtration solution will enable our customers to effectively implement their 10 and 7nm technology nodes.”

Torrento X series 7nm filters with FlowPlane linear filtration technology improve retention and increase flow rate performance by 100% compared to similarly sized radial filters. Moreover, FlowPlane users will benefit from the format’s smaller device footprint as well as improved wafer defectivity performance.

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