Lam Research introduces dielectric atomic layer etching capability for advanced logic

Lam Research Corp. (Nasdaq: LRCX), an advanced manufacturer of semiconductor equipment, today announced that it is expanding its atomic layer etching (ALE) portfolio with the addition of ALE capability on its Flex dielectric etch systems. Enabled by Lam’s Advanced Mixed Mode Pulsing (AMMP) technology, the new ALE process has demonstrated the atomic-level control needed to address key challenges in scaling logic devices to 10nm and below. First in the industry to use plasma-enhanced ALE in production for dielectric films, the latest Flex system has been adopted as tool of record for high-volume manufacturing of logic devices.

“From transistor and contact creation to interconnect patterning, a new level of precision is needed by logic manufacturers to continue scaling beyond the 10nm technology node,” said Vahid Vahedi, group vice president, Etch Product Group. “For device-enabling applications like self-aligned contacts, where etch helps create critical structures, conventional technologies do not provide sufficient control for the stringent specifications now demanded. Our latest Flex product with dielectric ALE delivers atomic-scale control with proven productivity to meet customers’ key requirements.”

To continue logic device scaling, chipmakers are adopting new integration schemes such as those using self-aligned contacts (SACs) in order to address issues like RC delay. As a result, contact etch has become one of the most crucial processes, directly impacting both wafer yield and transistor performance. In order to define critical device structures with high fidelity, the etch process requires directional (anisotropic) capability with ultra-high selectivity, while also delivering the productivity needed for manufacturing.

For next-generation logic and foundry applications, Lam’s Flex dielectric etch systems offer the industry’s most advanced capacitively coupled plasma (CCP) reactor, featuring a unique, small-volume design to deliver repeatable results. The latest system uses proprietary AMMP technology to enable ALE of dielectric films such as silicon dioxide (SiO2). This capability results in a 2x improvement in selectivity over previous dielectric etch technologies while delivering atomic-level control.

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