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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2008 Apr 1;320(1):219-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2007.11.057. Epub 2007 Dec 8.

Colloid aspects of chemical-mechanical planarization.

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  • 1Center for Advanced Materials Processing, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY 13699-5814, USA.


The essential parts of interconnects for silicon based logic and memory devices consist of metal wiring (e.g. copper), a barrier metal (Ta, TaN), and of insulation (SiO2, low-k polymer). The deposition of the conducting metal cannot be confined to trenches, resulting in additional coverage of Cu and Ta/TaN on the surface of the dielectrics, yielding an electrically conducting continuous but an uneven surface. The surplus metal must be removed until a perfectly flat surface consisting of electrically isolated metal lines is achieved with no imperfections. This task is accomplished by the chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP) process, in which the wafer is polished with a slurry containing abrasives of finely dispersed particles in submicrometer to nanometer size. The slurries also contain dissolved chemicals to modify the surfaces to be planarized. Eventually the final product must be cleared of any adhered particles and debris left after polishing is completed. Obviously the entire process deals with materials and interactions which are the focal subjects of colloid and surface science, such as the natures of abrasive particles and their stability in the slurry, the properties of various surfaces and their modifications, adhesion and detachment of the particles and different methods for the characterization of constituents, as well as elucidation of the relevant interfacial phenomena. This review endeavors to describe the colloid approach to optimize the materials and processes in order to achieve desirable polish rates and final surfaces with no imperfections. Specifically, the effects of the composition, size, shape, and charge of abrasive particles on the polish process and the quality of planarized wafers is described in detail. Furthermore, the interactions of metal surfaces with oxidizing, chelating, and other species which affect the dissolution and surface modification of metal (copper) surfaces are illustrated and related to the planarization process. Finally, using the packed column technique the adhesion phenomena of abrasives on metals and oxides is evaluated on suitable model systems, that contain the same additives in the slurries as in the actual planarization process. A close correlation is established in all cases between the attachment and detachment results with experimentally determined polish rates.

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