Collimated sputtering has been successful in providing good contact barriers for sub-half micron contacts with aspect ratios of 3 and greater. This approach does present drawbacks however, particularly in terms of reduced deposition rates and degraded film uniformity. The flux collected on the collimator leads to closing off of the cells, further reducing deposition rate on the wafer and limiting the life of the collimator. This paper demonstrates simulation of the filling of the collimator with different system configurations and pressures using the SIMSPUD vapor transport and SIMBAD thin film growth simulators. The model can determine collimator filling uniformity, blanket film uniformity, angular distribution of collimated sputter flux, and lifetime of the collimator. Given the target erosion profile, system geometry, and deposition rate, collimator lifetime can be predicted. The model indicates that for a 300 mm diameter source a drop in operating pressure from 0.67 Pa to 0.27 Pa has little effect on collimator life in terms of kWh, while increasing collimator life in terms of wafers by about 50%. The increase in the number of wafers processed comes at the expense of a small loss of uniformity.
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Tait, R.N., Dew, S.K., Tsai, W. et al. Simulation of Uniformity and Lifetime Effects in Collimated Sputtering. MRS Online Proceedings Library 389, 373–378 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-389-373