The future resolution requirements for the semiconductor industry demand advanced lithographic techniques, such as immersion and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technologies, which will increase the cost of microelectronics manufacturing. Currently, low-k dielectric materials, which are used as insulating layers between the copper wiring, are indirectly patterned using a set of sacrificial layers and etch processes. The sacrificial layers include a photoresist polymer that must first be imaged prior to transferring the pattern to the underlying layers, including the dielectric layer. In order to reduce the number of processing steps required for semiconductor manufacturing, we have developed a novel photo-patternable low-k dielectric material that (1) eliminates the need for sacrificial layers and (2) reduces the number of wafer processing steps. Silsesquioxane copolymers that undergo acid-catalyzed crosslinking when exposed to 193nm wavelength were synthesized. In addition to the direct photo-patternability, the patterned structures are suitable as a dielectric material with a dielectric constant as low as 2.4, and an appreciable elastic modulus (E > 4.0 GPa). These photo-patternable low-k materials represent a ‘greener’ approach to semiconductor manufacturing which has the ability to reduce cost, waste materials, and energy consumption.
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Rathore, J.S., Davis, B., Brock, P. et al. Silsesquioxane-based Photo-Patternable Porous Low-k Dielectric Materials. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1249, 602 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-1249-F06-02