SOLA(R) xT UVTP System For Sub-45nm High Volume Manufacturing Launced by Novellus Systems

Novellus Systems today
introduced its next-generation ultra-violet thermal processing (UVTP)
system, the SOLA xT. The SOLA xT is used in the manufacturing of
advanced logic devices at 45nm and below and incorporates a proprietary
UVTP treatment process that modifies the physical characteristics of a
previously-deposited film through exposure to ultraviolet light and
heat. The new system, featuring on-board UV monitoring and a
customizable optics assembly, provides process flexibility and
extendibility over multiple device generations. The first SOLA xT
system will be shipped to UMC’s Fab 12i in Singapore.

The multi-station sequential processing (MSSP) architecture of SOLA
allows independent control of temperature, wavelength and intensity at
each station to deliver best-in-class uniformity and productivity. This
high degree of process configurability results in UV treated ultra
low-k (ULK) films with a 25 percent greater hardness compared to single
wavelength, single temperature curing solutions. For example, UVTP is
used to remove porogen and improve the mechanical strength of ULK
dielectric films used as inter-metal layers. This treatment facilitates
device integration and prepares the films to withstand subsequent
semiconductor processing steps like packaging and chemical mechanical
planarization (CMP). Other advanced manufacturing integration schemes
use spin-on dielectrics, which sometimes incur damage during etching,
wet cleaning or photoresist ashing steps. In this instance, UVTP can be
used to repair this damage through chemical bond reconstruction. In the
front-end-of-the-line, UVTP may also be employed to induce strain in
the transistor channel of N-type Metal Oxide Semiconductor (NMOS)
devices. Strain is induced by depositing a high tensile stress
dielectric film, and subsequently exposing it to UV, resulting in an
increase of device performance.

For all of the applications cited above, monitoring equipment health
and delivering uniform wafer performance is necessary to improve
production efficiencies in a high volume manufacturing environment. To
achieve this goal, the new SOLA xT platform features on-board UV
monitoring and advanced algorithms to maintain stable wafer-to-wafer
performance. Best-in-class within-wafer uniformity results are achieved
with SOLA xT’s customizable optics assembly, where the UV lamps and
reflectors can be oriented differently at each of the four treatment
stations. The MSSP architecture ensures that each wafer is processed
through a single wafer path, resulting in one statistical distribution
of data compared to competitive solutions with up to four or six
different wafer paths, and hence as many different statistical
distributions.

"The new SOLA xT is designed to meet the market needs for a robust
UVTP system suitable for high volume manufacturing at 32 nm," said Kevin Jennings,
senior vice president of the PECVD business unit at Novellus Systems.
"The independent control of temperature, UV wavelength, and UV
intensity enable SOLA xT to extend to future technology generations,
where new materials are likely to be introduced."

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