Aston The Robust Alternative to Traditional Metrology for Semiconductor Manufacturing

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Increasingly the demands of advanced semiconductor metrology are beyond the capabilities of Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES)  and RGAs (residual gas analysis).  Selective processing used for Gate-All-Around and stacked memory architectures like 3D-NAND and DRAM, use advanced CVD, ALD and ALE techniques to selectively deposit and remove material.  

Traditional RGAs have not been effective and widely used in semiconductor manufacturing due to lack of lifetime, and reduction of sensitivity of the filament. The presence of corrosive gases such halide ions and radicals during etch, and deposition particulates from gases such as TEOS during CVD have limited RGA adoption.

Additionally, 3D structures such as 3D-NAND have high aspect ratio (HAR) and low Open Area (OA). Such applications require end point detection of species at OA <1% with HAR of >40:1, which OES lacks sensitivity to achieve. Further, pulsed RF plasma and ALD/ALE processes often do not have plasma or have a weak (and noisy) plasma signal rendering OES at best ineffective and often impossible.

Atonarp Aston™ has been purposely designed for the harsh environments of semiconductor manufacturing providing long lifetime, high sensitivity, accuracy and stability. Improved throughput, though rapid and quantified end point detection is enabled along side detailed insight into such critical processes. Additionally chamber management: fingerprinting, clean, seasoning, contamination detection and statistic process control can be achieved with Aston as part of the complete semiconductor manufacturing process control flow.

Atonarp Aston™ provides sensitivity and robustness with a superior performance enabling high volume manufacturing for advanced semiconductor memory and logic products.

Aston for Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), Atomic Level Deposition (ALD) and Etch (ALE)

Aston enables end point detection and quantitative metrology where traditional solutions fail for Gate-All-Around, 3D-NAND and DRAM technology.

  • Beyond direct line-of-sight
  • Etch processes when OA is <1% and HAR (>40:1)
  • When there is a weak or no plasma
  • In pulsed RF plasma processes: ALD and ALE

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Aston for Maximizing Throughput

For selective processing (ALD and ALE) used for 3D-NAND stacked memories & Gate All Around logic processes, chamber throughput is a significant production challenge.

Production fabs must run hundreds of chambers to meet volume; driving stringent chamber matching requirements.

ALD/ALE are layer-by-layer fast & intensive process alternating between precursor and purge, that require metrology with high sensitivity, which OES lacks.  In many cases the processes have limited or no plasma rendering OES ineffective in end point detection (EPD). Rapid and accurate EPD is critical to maximizing chamber throughput.

Aston has high sensitivity (10ppb) & can analyze species at dwell times of 1msec, additional the location of the Aston sample port can optimized.

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Aston for Chamber Fingerprinting & Matching

Aston can detect and quantify contamination, gas impurities and process chemistry with ppb sensitivity and fingerprint chamber characteristics.

Reactant partial pressure quantification for CVD/ALD/ALE applications is critical to enabling chamber matching and seasoning to a known standard for copy exact process duplication.

Additionally, Aston can:

  • Detect coarse & minute air leaks post clean.
  • Perform residual gas analysis for species identification and quantification to low ppb levels not possible with OES.
  • Produce accurate baseline chemical fingerprints as a reference for chamber-to-chamber comparison and troubleshooting.

Aston has high accuracy (<1%), millisecond time resolution and long term stability which minimize variations providing sensor consistency for POR tool-to-tool chamber and process matching.

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Aston for Process Chamber Management

Copy exact and modular processing require that process chambers be actively managed

Matching to within ½-1σ of the mean of the golden chamber in required

This level of matching performance demands an exceptionally sensitive yet robust metrology system.

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Aston for Chamber Clean/Purge End Point Detection

Measure post-etch clean end-point detection (including advanced wafer-less auto clean; WAC)

Chamber condition is critical to eliminating process drifts and ensuring repeatable performance

Measure rapid chamber purge endpoints speeding atomic level etch and deposition processing cycles

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Aston - One Tool for Advanced Semiconductor Metrology

Quality assurance for in-coming process gases

Helium Leak Detection

Water Vapor Detection

Residual Gas Analysis

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Resistant to corrosive process gases and particulate deposition

Resistant to corrosive gases and particulate deposition µPlasma ionizer prevents damage from corrosive gases to the sensor. The Aston ReGEN™ clean mode removes the potential for particle buildup affecting sensor sensitivity

Get real data in real-time

Aston delivers highly accurate measurements with sensitivity down to ppb levels, long term stability, high resolution and speed of measurement over a mass range of 2 to 350 amu due to its innovative electronics and signal processing capability.

Highly accurate hyperbolic quadrupole sensor

The HyperQuad sensor is a quadrupole using µm-level accurate hyperbolic electrodes. Driven by a highly linear RF circuitry, dual Faraday Cup and secondary electron multiplier detectors produces superior analytical performance.

Production integration ready

Ethercat and high-speed interfaces are built into Aston. Protocol options include Ethercat, Modbus & Command Line Interface. Aston is interfaced to the process tool via a built-in PLC module with digital & analog IOs. The small footprint, integrated PLC & standard interfaces allow for on-chamber full integration to the process equipment control system.

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Atonarp’s Aston

Real time process control for semiconductor applications and the ultimate solution for CVD, atom level deposition, chamber matching and high performance etch in high volume manufacturing environment.