Surface-Particle Interactions in the Chemical Mechanical Polishing Process


Chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) is a critical step in the fabrication of integrated circuits. Each layer of deposited material must be planarized before the next layer of circuitry can be formed. In CMP, a chemically active solution is used to modify the substrate so that a particulate abrasive may polish more efficiently. Modification of the surface often requires high oxidizer concentrations or pH extremes. Under these circumstances the stability of the polishing slurry and prevention of particulate attachment to the substrate is a difficult problem. In this study, atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used to directly measure the forces between surfaces that simulate those in CMP. Initial investigation has focused on modeling the polishing of tungsten interconnect material by alumina slurries at acidic pH and evaluating the role surfactants can play in the stabilization of the polishing slurry and CMP processes.

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The authors would like to acknowledge Alex Patist and Sudhir Shrotri for useful discussions as well as the financial support of the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Particle Science and Technology at the University of Florida, The National Science Foundation (NSF) grant #EEC-94-02989, and the Industrial Partners of the ERC.

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Correspondence to J. J. Adler.

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Adler, J.J., Rabinovich, Y.I., Singh, R.K. et al. Surface-Particle Interactions in the Chemical Mechanical Polishing Process. MRS Online Proceedings Library 501, 387–392 (1997).

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