Origins of Wear-Induced Tungsten Corrosion Defects in Semiconductor Manufacturing during Tungsten Chemical Mechanical Polishing

Seung-Hoon Choi, Melissa E. Kreider, Adam C. Nielander, Michaela Burke Stevens, Gaurav Kamat, Ja Eung Koo, Ki Ho Bae, Hoyoung Kim, Il Young Yoon, Bo Un Yoon, Kihyun Hwang, Dong Un Lee, Thomas F. Jaramillo
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Applied Surface Science

During chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) process optimization, a unique corrosion defect was identified in the tungsten (W) contact plugs, which were investigated to develop practical solutions to improve CMP mass productivity. The corrosion defect occurred in the absence of external incident energy and was observed to occur only at the W plugs connected to the P+/n-well close to the wafer edge. To examine the root cause of the corrosion, a series of experiments was carried out at each W CMP step, using in-line defect inspection. Additional experiments were conducted using on-line inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to understand pH- and potential-dependent electrochemical dissolution behaviors of W. Experimentally, W corrosion was confirmed to be exacerbated if the surface oxide of the W plugs is removed by the deionized water (DIW) rinsing step under wafer pressurization, then exposed to DIW and alkaline cleaning solution. Although the DIW rinsing step is commonly performed to clean polishing pads right after the main polishing, a small amount of applied pressure (0.5 psi) without slurry supply can lead to corrosion defects. This wear-induced corrosion of the W plugs can be prevented by removing the applied pressure during the post DIW rinsing step of W CMP.

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