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  1. Abstract

    The etching of sub micrometer high-aspect-ratio (HAR) features into dielectric materials in low pressure radio frequency technological plasmas is limited by the accumulation of positive surface charges inside etch trenches. These are, at least partially, caused by highly energetic positive ions that are accelerated by the sheath electric field to high velocities perpendicular to the wafer. In contrast to these anisotropic ions, thermal electrons typically reach the electrode only during the sheath collapse and cannot penetrate deeply into HAR features to compensate the positive surface charges. This problem causes significant reductions of the etch rate and leads to deformations of the features due to ion deflection, i.e. the aspect ratio is limited. Here, we demonstrate that voltage waveform tailoring can be used to generate electric field reversals adjacent to the wafer during sheath collapse to accelerate electrons towards the electrode to allow them to penetrate deeply into HAR etch features to compensate positive surface charges and to overcome this process limitation. Based on 1D3V particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo collision simulations of a capacitively coupled plasma operated in argon at 1 Pa, we study the effects of changing the shape, peak-to-peak voltage, and harmonics’ frequencies of the driving voltage waveform on this electric field reversal as well as on the electron velocity and angular distribution function at the wafer. We find that the angle of incidence of electrons relative to the surface normal at the wafer can be strongly reduced and the electron velocity perpendicular to the wafer can be significantly increased by choosing the driving voltage waveform in a way that ensures a fast and short sheath collapse. This is caused by the requirement of flux compensation of electrons and ions at the electrode on time average in the presence of a short and steep sheath collapse.

     
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  2. Abstract

    A knowledge-based understanding of the plasma-surface-interaction with the aim to precisely control (reactive) sputtering processes for the deposition of thin films with tailored and reproducible properties is highly desired for industrial applications. In order to understand the effect of plasma parameter variations on the film properties, a single plasma parameter needs to be varied, while all other process and plasma parameters should remain constant. In this work, we use the Electrical Asymmetry Effect in a multi-frequency capacitively coupled plasma to control the ion energy at the substrate without affecting the ion-to-growth flux ratio by adjusting the relative phase between two consecutive driving harmonics and their voltage amplitudes. Measurements of the ion energy distribution function and ion flux at the substrate by a retarding field energy analyzer combined with the determined deposition rateRdfor a reactive Ar/N2(8:1) plasma at 0.5 Pa show a possible variation of the mean ion energy at the substrateEmigwithin a range of 38 and 81 eV that allows the modification of the film characteristics at the grounded electrode, when changing the relative phase shiftθbetween the applied voltage frequencies, while the ion-to-growth flux ratio Γiggrcan be kept constant. AlN thin films are deposited and exhibit an increase in compressive film stress from −5.8 to −8.4 GPa as well as an increase in elastic modulus from 175 to 224 GPa as a function of the mean ion energy. Moreover, a transition from the preferential orientation (002) at low ion energies to the (100), (101) and (110) orientations at higher ion energies is observed. In this way, the effects of the ion energy on the growing film are identified, while other process relevant parameters remain unchanged.

     
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