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Processes and systems for engineering a barrier surface for copper deposition

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Processes and systems for engineering a barrier surface for copper deposition


An integrated system for processing a substrate in controlled environment to enable deposition of a thin copper seed layer on a surface of a metallic barrier layer of a copper interconnect is provided. The system includes a lab-ambient transfer chamber, a vacuum transfer chamber, a vacuum process module for cleaning an exposed surface of a metal oxide of a underlying metal, a vacuum process module for depositing the metallic barrier layer, and a controlled-ambient transfer chamber filled with an inert gas, wherein at least one controlled-ambient process module is coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer chamber. In addition, the system includes an electroless copper deposition process module used to deposit the thin layer of copper seed layer on the surface of the metallic barrier layer.

Browse recent Lam Research Corporation patents - Fremont, CA, US
Inventors: Yezdi Dordi, John Boyd, Tiruchirapalli Arunagiri, Hyungsuk Alexander Yoon, Fritz C. Redeker, William Thie, Arthur M. Howald
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120269987 - Class: 427539 (USPTO) - 10/25/12 - Class 427 
Coating Processes > Direct Application Of Electrical, Magnetic, Wave, Or Particulate Energy >Pretreatment Of Substrate Or Post-treatment Of Coated Substrate >Ionized Gas Utilized (e.g., Electrically Powered Source, Corona Discharge, Plasma, Glow Discharge, Etc.) >Plasma (e.g., Cold Plasma, Corona, Glow Discharge, Etc.) >Oxygen Containing Atmosphere



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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120269987, Processes and systems for engineering a barrier surface for copper deposition.

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CLAIM OF PRIORITY

This application claims priority as a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/514,038, titled “Processes and Systems for Engineering a Barrier Surface for Copper Deposition,” filed on Aug. 30, 2006, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/686,787, titled “High Rate Electroless Plating and Integration Flow to Form Cu Interconnects,” filed on Aug. 31, 2005, and U.S. application Ser. No. 11/461,415, titled “System and Method for Forming Patterned Copper lines Through Electroless Copper Plating,” filed on Jul. 27, 2006, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/513,634), entitled “Processes and Systems for Engineering a Copper Surface for Selective Metal Deposition,” and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/513,446, entitled “Processes and Systems for Engineering a Silicon-Type Surface For Selective Metal Deposition to Form a Metal Silicide,” both of which are filed on the same day as the instant application. The disclosure of these related applications is incorporated herein by reference in their entireties for all purposes.

BACKGROUND

Integrated circuits use conductive interconnects to wire together the individual devices on a semiconductor substrate, or to communicate externally to the integrated circuit. Interconnect metallization for vias and trenches may include aluminum alloys and copper. Electro-migration (EM) is a well-known reliability problem for metal interconnects, caused by electrons pushing and moving metal atoms in the direction of current flow at a rate determined by the current density. Electro-migration can eventually lead to the thinning of the metal line, which can result in higher resistivity or, worst case, a metal line breakage. Fortunately, not every interconnect metal line on an IC has current moving in the same direction all the time, as it mostly does in power supply and ground lines. However, as metal lines get narrower (International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) calls for a ˜0.7× reduction in the line width for every technology node), electro-migration becomes more of an issue.

In aluminum lines, EM is a bulk phenomenon and is well controlled by the addition of small amounts of a dopant, such as copper. EM in copper lines, on the other hand, is a surface phenomenon. It can occur wherever the copper is free to move, typically at an interface where there is poor adhesion between the copper and another material. In today's dual-damascene process, this happens most often on the top of the copper line where it interfaces with what is typically a SiC diffusion barrier layer, but it can also happen at the copper/barrier interface. With each migration to the next technology node, and resulting increase in current density, the problem worsens.

The solution to EM problems, as well as related stress voids, another common reliability problem, has been a story of process integration: optimized depositions (i.e. reducing thickness of barrier and seed layers), pre- and post-deposition wafer cleanings, surface treatments, etc., all aimed at providing homogeneous surfaces and good adhesion between layers to minimize metal atom migration and void propagation. In the dual-damascene process, trenches and holes (for contacts and vias) are etched in the dielectric, then lined with a barrier material, such as tantalum (Ta), tantalum nitride (TaN), or a combination of both films, followed by the deposition of a copper seed layer, copper electroplating, copper planarization using CMP and then deposition of a dielectric stack, such as SiC/low-k/SiC. Since an oxide readily forms on copper when copper is exposed to air, proper post-CMP cleaning and removal of the copper oxide before capping the copper with SiC is required to ensure good adhesion between copper and SiC. Removal of the copper oxide prior to the SiC deposition is essential to good EM performance and reducing resultant metal resistivity.

Recently, capping Copper with a cobalt-alloy capping layer, such as CoWP (cobalt tungsten phosphide), CoWB (cobalt tungsten boride), or CoWBP (cobalt tungsten boro-phosphide), before the SiC dielectric barrier layer, has been shown to significantly improve electro-migration, compared to SiC over copper. FIG. 1 shows that the cobalt-alloy capping layers 20, 30 are deposited over copper layers 23, 33 and under dielectric capping SiC layers 25, 35, respectively. Ta and/or TaN barrier layers are illustrated as layers 24, 34. The cobalt-alloy layers 20, 30 improve the adhesion between copper 23, 33 and SiC cap layers 25, 35. The cobalt-alloy layers 20, 30 can also exhibit certain copper diffusion barrier characteristics. The cobalt-alloy capping layers can be selectively deposited on copper by electroless deposition. However, the electroless deposition can be inhibited by thin copper oxide layer, which can be formed when copper is exposed to air. Further, contaminants on the copper and dielectric surfaces can cause pattern-dependent plating effects include pattern-dependent thickness of the Co alloy, as well as pattern-dependent copper line thickness loss in part due to etching during the ‘incubation’ time required to initiate the Co plating reaction. Therefore, it is important to control the processing environment to limit (or control) the growth of native copper oxide, and to remove copper oxide and organic contaminants on the copper surface and organic and metallic contaminants on the dielectric surface immediately prior to depositing the metallic capping layer, such as a cobalt-alloy. Further, to reduce pattern-dependent deposition variability, the dielectric surface must be controlled to normalize its influence across structures of different pattern densities. Engineering the metal-to-metal interface between the copper layers 23, 33, between copper and barrier layers 33 and 34, 23 and 24, and the adhesion promoting layers (or metallic capping layers), such as the cobalt-alloy layers 20, 20, is very critical in ensuring good interfacial adhesion and good EM performance. Further, as metal lines become narrower, physical vapor deposition (PVD) barrier and seed films form a larger part of the metal line, increase the effective resistivity, and hence current density. Thin and conformal barrier and seed layers can mitigate this trend, with atomic layer deposition (ALD) barriers (TaN, Ru or hybrid combinations) providing conformal step coverage and acceptable barrier properties, and electroless Cu process providing a conformal seed layer. Until now, however, there is no electroless Cu seed layer that can adhere to the ALD TaN barrier films produced.

In view of the foregoing, there is a need for systems and processes that produce a metal-to-metal interface with improved electro-migration performance, low sheet resistance, and improved interfacial adhesion for copper interconnects.

SUMMARY

Broadly speaking, the embodiments fill the need by providing improved processes and systems that produce an improved metal-to-metal interface, more specifically barrier-to-copper interface, to enhance electro-migration performance, provide lower metal resistivity, and improve metal-to-metal interfacial adhesion for copper interconnects. It should be appreciated that the present invention can be implemented in numerous ways, including as a solution, a method, a process, an apparatus, or a system. Several inventive embodiments of the present invention are described below.

In one embodiment, a method of preparing a substrate surface of a substrate to deposit a metallic barrier layer to line a copper interconnect structure of the substrate and to deposit a thin copper seed layer on a surface of the metallic barrier layer in an integrated system to improve electromigration performance of the copper interconnect is provided. The method includes cleaning an exposed surface of a underlying metal to remove surface metal oxide in the integrated system, wherein the underlying metal is part of a underlying interconnect electrically connected to the copper interconnect. The method also includes depositing the metallic barrier layer to line the copper interconnect structure in the integrated system, wherein after depositing the metallic barrier layer, the substrate is transferred and processed in controlled environment to prevent the formation of metallic barrier oxide. The method further includes depositing the thin copper seed layer in the integrated system, and depositing a gap-fill copper layer over the thin copper seed layer in the integrated system.

In another embodiment, a method of preparing a substrate surface of a substrate to deposit a metallic barrier layer to line a copper interconnect structure of the substrate and to selectively deposit a thin copper seed layer on a surface of the metallic barrier layer in an integrated system to improve electromigration performance of the copper interconnect is provided. The method includes cleaning an exposed surface of an underlying metal to remove surface oxide in the integrated system, wherein the underlying metal is part of a underlying interconnect, the copper interconnect is electrically connected to underlying interconnect, and depositing the metallic barrier layer to line the copper interconnect structure in the integrated system, wherein after depositing the metallic barrier layer, the substrate is transferred and processed in controlled environment to prevent the formation of metallic barrier oxide. The method also includes selectively depositing the thin copper seed layer in the integrated system, and depositing a gap-fill copper layer over the thin copper seed layer in the integrated system in the integrated system.

The method further includes removing copper overburden and metallic barrier overburden in the integrated system, wherein removing copper overburden and metallic barrier overburden creates the planarized copper surface, and removing metal-organic complex contaminants and metal oxides from the substrate surface in the integrated system. In addition, the method includes removing organic contaminants from the substrate surface in the integrated system, and reducing the planarized copper surface that is removed of metal-organic complex contaminants, metal oxides, and organic contaminants in the integrated system. Additionally, the method includes depositing a thin layer of a cobalt-alloy material on the reduced planarized copper surface in the integrated system.

In another embodiment, a method of preparing a metallic barrier surface of a substrate to deposit a thin copper seed layer on a surface of a metallic barrier layer of a copper interconnect structure in an integrated system to improve electromigration performance of the copper interconnect structure is provided. The method includes reducing a surface of the metallic barrier layer to convert metallic barrier oxide on the surface of the metallic barrier layer to make the surface of the metallic barrier layer to be metallic-rich in the integrated system. The method also includes depositing the thin copper seed layer in the integrated system, and depositing a gap-fill copper layer over the thin copper seed layer in the integrated system.

In another embodiment, an integrated system for processing a substrate in controlled environment to enable deposition of a thin copper seed layer on a surface of a metallic barrier layer of a copper interconnect is provided. The system includes a lab-ambient transfer chamber capable of transferring the substrate from a substrate cassette coupled to the lab-ambient transfer chamber into the integrated system, and a vacuum transfer chamber operated under vacuum at a pressure less than 1 Torr, wherein at least one vacuum process module is coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber. The system also includes a vacuum process module for cleaning an exposed surface of a metal oxide of a underlying metal in the integrated system, wherein the underlying metal is part of a underlying interconnect, the copper interconnect is electrically connected to the underlying interconnect, wherein the vacuum process module for cleaning is one of the at least one vacuum process module coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber, and is operated under vacuum at a pressure less than 1 Torr.

The system further includes a vacuum process module for depositing the metallic barrier layer, wherein the vacuum process module for depositing the metallic barrier layer one of the at least one vacuum process module is coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber, and is operated under vacuum at a pressure less than 1 Torr, and a controlled-ambient transfer chamber filled with an inert gas selected from a group of inert gases, wherein at least one controlled-ambient process module is coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer chamber. In addition, the system includes an electroless copper deposition process module used to deposit the thin layer of copper seed layer on the surface of the metallic barrier layer, wherein the electroless copper deposition process module is one of the at least one controlled environment process modules coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer chamber.

In another embodiment, an integrated system for processing a substrate in controlled environment to enable selective deposition of a thin copper seed layer on a surface of a metallic barrier layer of a copper interconnect and preparing a planarized copper surface of the copper interconnect to selectively depositing a thin layer of a cobalt-alloy material in an integrated system to improve electromigration performance of the copper interconnect is provided. The system includes a lab-ambient transfer chamber capable of transferring the substrate from a substrate cassette coupled to the lab-ambient transfer chamber into the integrated system, and a vacuum transfer chamber operated under vacuum at a pressure less than 1 Torr, wherein at least one vacuum process module is coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber. The system also includes an Ar sputtering process module to clean an exposed surface of a metal oxide of a underlying metal in the integrated system, wherein the underlying metal is part of a underlying interconnect, the copper interconnect is electrically connected to the underlying interconnect, the Ar sputtering process module one of the at least one vacuum process module is coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber, and an atomic layer deposition (ALD) process module for depositing a thin first metallic barrier layer, wherein the ALD process module is one of the at least one vacuum process module coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber.

The system further includes a PVD process chamber for depositing a thin second metallic barrier layer, wherein the PVD process module is one of the at least one vacuum process module coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber, and a hydrogen reduction process module for reducing a metal oxide or metal nitride to a metal, wherein the hydrogen reduction process module is one of the at least one vacuum process module coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber. In addition, the system includes an oxygen plasma process module for removing organic contaminants from the substrate surface, wherein the oxygen plasma process module is one of the at least one vacuum process module coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber, and a controlled-ambient transfer chamber filled with an inert gas selected from a group of inert gases, wherein at least one controlled-ambient process module is coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer chamber. Additionally, the system includes an electroless copper deposition process module used to deposit the thin layer of copper seed layer and a gap-fill copper layer on the surface of the metallic barrier layer, the electroless copper deposition process module being one of the at least one controlled-ambient process module coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer chamber.

The system also includes an electroless cobalt-alloy deposition process module used to deposit the thin layer of the cobalt-alloy material on the prepared planarized copper surface, the electroless copper alloy deposition process module being one of the at least one controlled-ambient process module coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer chamber, and a planarizing process module used to remove a copper overburden and a barrier overburden of the copper interconnect, the planarizing process module is one of the at least one controlled-ambient process module coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer module. In addition, the system includes a wet clean process module used to remove metallic contamination on the substrate surface, the wet clean process module is one of the at least one controlled-ambient process module coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer module.

In yet another embodiment, an integrated system for processing a substrate in controlled environment to enable deposition of a thin copper seed layer on a surface of a metallic barrier layer of a copper interconnect is provided. The system includes a lab-ambient transfer chamber capable of transferring the substrate from a substrate cassette coupled to the lab-ambient transfer chamber into the integrated system, and a vacuum transfer chamber operated under vacuum at a pressure less than 1 Torr, wherein at least one vacuum process module is coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber. The system further includes a vacuum process module for reducing the metallic barrier layer, wherein the vacuum process module for reducing the metallic barrier layer one of the at least one vacuum process module is coupled to the vacuum transfer chamber, and is operated under vacuum at a pressure less than 1 Torr. In addition, the system includes a controlled-ambient transfer chamber filled with an inert gas selected from a group of inert gases, wherein at least one controlled-ambient process module is coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer chamber, and an electroless copper deposition process module used to deposit the thin layer of copper seed layer on the surface of the metallic barrier layer, wherein the electroless copper deposition process module is one of the at least one controlled environment process modules coupled to the controlled-ambient transfer chamber.

Other aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, illustrating by way of example the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be readily understood by the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, and like reference numerals designate like structural elements.

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary cross section interconnects.

FIGS. 2A-2D show cross sections of an interconnect structure at various stages of interconnect processing.

FIG. 3 shows various forms of contaminants on substrate surface after metal CMP.

FIG. 4A shows an exemplary process flow to prepare a copper surface for electrolessly depositing a cobalt-alloy.

FIG. 4B shows an exemplary system used to process a substrate through a process flow of FIG. 4A.

FIGS. 5A-5C show cross sections of an interconnect structure at various stages of interconnect processing.

FIG. 6A shows an exemplary process flow to prepare a copper surface for electrolessly depositing a cobalt-alloy.

FIG. 6B shows an exemplary system used to process a substrate through a process flow of FIG. 6A.

FIGS. 7A-7C show cross sections of an interconnect structure at various stages of interconnect processing.

FIG. 8A shows an exemplary process flow to prepare a copper surface for electrolessly depositing a cobalt-alloy.

FIG. 8B shows an exemplary system used to process a substrate through a process flow of FIG. 8A.

FIGS. 9A-9E show cross sections of a metal line structure at various stages of processing.

FIG. 10A shows an exemplary process flow to prepare a barrier layer surface for electrolessly depositing a copper layer.

FIG. 10B shows an exemplary system used to process a substrate through a process flow of FIG. 10A.

FIG. 10C shows an exemplary process flow to prepare a barrier layer surface for electrolessly depositing a copper layer.

FIG. 10D shows an exemplary system used to process a substrate through a process flow of FIG. 10C.

FIG. 11A shows an exemplary process flow to prepare a barrier layer surface for electrolessly depositing a copper layer and to prepare a copper surface for electrolessly depositing a cobalt-alloy.

FIG. 11B shows an exemplary system used to process a substrate through a process flow of FIG. 11A.

FIGS. 12A-12D show cross sections of an interconnect structure at various stages of processing.

FIG. 13A shows an exemplary process flow to prepare a barrier surface for electroless copper deposition and to prepare a copper surface for electrolessly depositing a cobalt-alloy.

FIG. 13B shows an exemplary system used to process a substrate through a process flow of FIG. 13A.

FIGS. 14A-14D show cross section of a gate structure at various stages of forming metal silicide.

FIG. 15A shows an exemplary process flow to prepare exposed silicon surface to form a metal silicide.

FIG. 15B shows an exemplary system used to process a substrate through a process flow of FIG. 15A.

FIG. 16 shows a schematic diagram of system integration for an integrated system with ambient-controlled processing environments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Several exemplary embodiments for improved metal integration techniques that modify metal interfaces by removing interfacial metal oxide by reduction to improve electro-migration metal resistivity and interface adhesion are provided. It should be appreciated that the present invention can be implemented in numerous ways, including a process, a method, an apparatus, or a system. Several inventive embodiments of the present invention are described below. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without some or all of the specific details set forth herein.

FIG. 2A shows an exemplary cross-section of an interconnect structure(s) after being patterned by using a dual damascene process sequence. The interconnect structure(s) is on a substrate 50 and has a dielectric layer 100, which was previously fabricated to form a metallization line 101 therein. The metallization line is typically fabricated by etching a trench into the dielectric 100 and then filling the trench with a conductive material, such as copper.

In the trench, there is a barrier layer 120, used to prevent the copper material 122, from diffusing into the dielectric 100. The barrier layer 120 can be made of PVD tantalum nitride (TaN), PVD tantalum (Ta), ALD TaN, or a combination of these films. Other barrier layer materials can also be used. A barrier layer 102 is deposited over the planarized copper material 122 to protect the copper material 122 from premature oxidation when via holes 114 are etched through overlying dielectric materials 104, 106 to the barrier layer 102. The barrier layer 102 is also configured to function as a selective etch stop and a copper diffusion barrier. Exemplary barrier layer 102 materials include silicon nitride (SiN) or silicon carbide (SiC).

A via dielectric layer 104 is deposited over the barrier layer 102. The via dielectric layer 104 can be made of an organo-silicate glass (OS G, carbon-doped silicon oxide) or other types of dielectric materials, preferably with low dielectric constants. Exemplary silicon dioxides can include, a PECVD un-doped TEOS silicon dioxide, a PECVD fluorinated silica glass (FSG), a HDP FSG, OSG, porous OSG, etc. and the like. Commercially available dielectric materials including Black Diamond (I) and Black Diamond (II) by Applied Materials of Santa Clara, Calif., Coral by Novellus Systems of San Jose, Aurora by ASM America Inc. of Phoenix, Ariz., can also be used. Over the via dielectric layer 104 is a trench dielectric layer 106. The trench dielectric layer 106 may be a low K dielectric material, such as a carbon-doped oxide (C-oxide). The dielectric constant of the low K dielectric material can be about 3.0 or lower. In one embodiment, both the via and trench dielectric layers are made of the same material, and deposited at the same time to form a continuous film. After the trench dielectric layer 106 is deposited, the substrate 50 that holds the structure(s) undergoes patterning and etching processes to form the vias holes 114 and trenches 116 by known art.

FIG. 2B shows that after the formation of vias holes 114 and trenches 116, a barrier layer 130 and a copper layer 132 are deposited to line and fill the via holes 114 and the trenches 116. The barrier layer 130 can be made of tantalum nitride (TaN), tantalum (Ta), Ruthenium (Ru), or a hybrid combination of these films. While these are the commonly considered materials, other barrier layer materials can also be used. A copper film 132 is then deposited to fill the via holes 114 and the trenches 116.

After copper film 132 fills the via holes 114 and trenches 116, substrate 50 is planarized by chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) to remove the copper material (or copper overburden) and barrier layer (or barrier overburden) over the surface of dielectric 106, as shown in FIG. 2C. The next step is to cap the copper surface 140 with a copper/SiC interface adhesion promoter layer 135, such as a cobalt-alloy, as shown in FIG. 2D. Examples of the cobalt-alloy include: CoWP, CoWB, or CoWBP, which can be selectively deposited over copper by an electroless process. The thickness of the adhesion-promoting layer can be as thin as a monolayer, which is only a few angstroms, such as 5 angstroms, to a thicker layer, such as 200 to 300 angstroms, which could also serve as a Cu diffusion barrier, eliminating the need for a dielectric cap.

Chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) of copper often uses benzotrizole (BTA) as a copper corrosion inhibitor. Copper forms Cu-BTA complexes with BTA. A substrate that has been processed through Cu CMP and post-CMP clean can contain copper residues in the form of a Cu-BTA complex, which is illustrated as open circles in FIG. 3, on both the Cu lines and the adjacent dielectric. Cu-BTA complexes on the dielectric need to be removed to prevent increased current leakage or metal shorting. Further, residues of Ta or other barrier material, which is illustrated as open triangles in FIG. 3, may be present in small amounts, in addition to various organic contaminants, which are illustrated as filled circles in FIG. 3. In addition to these contaminants, there are various oxides of the metals present, primarily CuO and CuO2, which are illustrated as filled triangles in FIG. 3. Cu-BTA complexes metal oxides, and organic contaminants are three major surface contaminants that must be removed from the substrate surface. Preparing a dielectric surface and a metal surface that are free of organics and metal-containing compound contaminants is challenging and requires multiple surface preparation steps that could include both wet and dry processes.

Following are several exemplary process flows and systems that provide surface preparation of an underlying metal to allow an over-laying metal layer to be deposited on top with good adhesion properties between the two metal layers. The metal layers deposited by the exemplary process flows and systems would exhibit improved EM performance and thus an overall lower metal resistivity.

1. Engineering Copper Surface for Cobalt-Alloy Deposition Case I: Metal CMP Stops on Dielectric Layer

FIG. 4A shows an embodiment of a process flow of surface preparation for electrolessly depositing a cobalt-alloy over a post-CMP copper surface 140 of the dual-damascene via-trench structure shown in FIG. 2C. The substrate(s) used in the process flow 400 of FIG. 4A have just finished metal CMP processing(s) to remove copper and bather overburden layers, such as Ta and/or TaN. As described above in the paragraph related to FIG. 3, there are various metallic and organic contaminants on the substrate surface.

The process starts at step 401 by removing metal-organic complex contaminants (or complexed metal-organic contaminants), such as Cu-BTA complex, and metal oxides from the substrate surface. Although metal contaminants will be removed from both the copper and dielectric surfaces, the purpose of this step is to enhance selectivity and improve the Co film morphology by eliminating potential sources of metal that could later serve as nucleation sites for the subsequent Co-alloy deposition. Copper-BTA complex, copper oxide (CuOx) and other metal oxides, such as tantalum oxide (TaOy), are removed from the substrate surface during this step. The amount of copper oxide to be removed depends on the contaminant level and depth of metal oxides on the surface. Metal complex and metal oxide can be removed by an O2/Ar sputtering process, or a wet chemical removal process in an 1-step or a 2-step wet chemical process sequence. The preferred embodiment uses a wet process to remove the complexed metal and metal oxides. The wet chemical removal process can use an organic acid, such as DeerClean offered by Kanto Chemical Co., Inc. of Japan or a semi-aqueous solvent, such as ESC 5800 offered by DuPont of Wilmington, Del., an organic base such as tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH), complexing amines such as ethylene diamine, diethylene triamine, or proprietary chemistry such as ELD clean and Cap Clean 61, provided by Enthone, Inc. of West Haven, Conn. Removing Cu-BTA from the dielectric surface ensures that copper from the Cu-BTA complex will not be oxidized to copper oxide and subsequently reduced to copper during other surface preparation steps, reducing selectivity and providing nucleation points on the dielectric surface on which to grow the Co alloy, causing shorts and increasing the leakage current. Therefore, Cu-BTA removal process can also reduce yield loss due to metal shorting or current leakage.

Cu-BTA complexes and other metal oxide contaminants are two key metal contaminants to be removed during this step, which can be done in either a controlled or uncontrolled ambient (or environment). For example, Cu-BTA can be removed by a wet clean process that involves a cleaning solution including tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH), complexing amines such as ethylene diamine, diethylene triamine, or proprietary cleaning chemistries such as ELD clean and Cap Clean 61, provided by Enthone, Inc. of West Haven, Conn. Metal oxides, specifically copper oxide, can be removed using a weak organic acid such as citric acid, or other organic or inorganic acids can be used. Additionally, very dilute (i.e. <0.1%) peroxide-containing acids, such as sulfuric-peroxide mixtures, can also be used. The wet clean process can also remove other metal or metal oxide residues.

The presence of BTA on the copper lines of different pattern or feature types, such as small dense, small isolated or wide copper lines, is a result of passivation of the lines, the amount of which is related, in part, to the degree of the galvanic effect occurring on these features. This can result in the formation of pattern-dependent passivation layers. This dependence can further influence the Co-alloy deposition characteristics, resulting in pattern-dependent deposition characteristics, sometimes referred to as incubation or initiation effects. Removing BTA from the Cu lines can help eliminate this pattern-dependent deposition effect of cobalt-alloy (to be deposited at a subsequent step) and allow uniform cobalt-alloy deposition in the dense and isolated features.

The organic contaminants can be removed by an oxidizing plasma such as an oxygen-containing plasma process in step 403. The oxygen (O2) plasma process is preferably conducted at a relatively low temperature of less than 120° C. High temperature O2 plasma process tends to oxidize copper into a thicker layer, making it harder to reduce later. Therefore, a low temperature O2 plasma process is preferred. In one embodiment, the O2 plasma process can be a downstream plasma process. Alternatively, organic residues (or contaminants) can also be removed by using an O2/Ar sputtering process to physically remove the organic contaminants. O2 plasma process and O2/Ar sputtering process are typically operated under less than 1 Torr.

Once the substrate surface is free of contaminants, such as Cu-BTA, metal oxide, and other organic contaminants, the substrate should be exposed to as little oxygen as possible to protect the copper surface from oxidation. Copper oxidation is not a self-limiting process. The amount and duration of oxygen the copper surface is exposed to should be limited (or controlled) to minimize the copper oxide formation. Although copper oxide will be reduced at a later step, thicker layers of copper oxide may not be fully reduced. Therefore, it is important to limit the exposure of copper to oxygen to only that needed to remove the organic contaminants. To achieve controlled and limited exposure to oxygen, the substrate should be transferred or processes in controlled environments, such as an environment under vacuum or an environment filled with inert gas (es).

To ensure that the copper surface is free of copper oxide, the substrate surface is reconditioned in a reducing environment to convert any residual copper oxide into copper at step 405. The previous pre-clean steps will have removed any metals from the dielectric layer, and thus metal reduction is performed only on the copper lines. The copper surface reduction can be achieved by a hydrogen-containing plasma process to convert copper oxide to copper (or substantially copper). Exemplary reactive gases that can be used to generate the hydrogen-containing plasma include hydrogen (H2), ammonia (NH3), and carbon monoxide (CO). For example, the substrate surface is reduced by a hydrogen-containing plasma, which is generated by hydrogen (H2) gas, ammonia (NH3) gas, or a combination of both gases, and the substrate is at an elevated temperature of between 20° C. and 300° C. In one embodiment, the hydrogen plasma process is a downstream plasma process. Once the substrate goes through a hydrogen reduction process, the substrate is ready for the cobalt-alloy deposition. The copper surface needs to be carefully protected to ensure no copper oxide formation. As described above, electroless deposition of cobalt-alloy can be inhibited by the presence of copper oxide. Therefore, it is important to control the processing and transport environments to minimize the exposure of the copper surface to oxygen.

At next process step 407, the cobalt-alloy, such as CoWP, CoWB or CoWBP, is electrolessly deposited on top of the copper surface. The electroless deposition of the cobalt-alloy is a wet process, and deposits on catalytic surfaces, such as copper surface, only. The cobalt-alloy only deposits selectively on the copper surface.

After the electroless deposition of the cobalt-alloy, the process flow can enter an optional process step 409 of a post-deposition clean. Post-deposition clean can be accomplished by using a brush scrub clean with a chemical solution, such as a solution containing CP72B supplied by Air Products and Chemical, Inc. of Allentown, Pa. Other substrate surface cleaning processes can also be used, such as Lam\'s C3™ or P3™ cleaning technology. Other post clean chemicals can include a hydroxylamine-based chemistry to remove any metal-based contaminants that might remain on the dielectric surface after electroless plating.

As described above, the process and wafer transfer environment control is very important for preparing the copper surface for cobalt-alloy deposition, especially after the hydrogen plasma reduction of the copper surface. FIG. 4B shows a schematic diagram of an exemplary integrated system 450 that allows minimal exposure of substrate surface to oxygen at critical steps after surface treatment. In addition, since it is an integrated system, the substrate is transferred from one process station immediately to the next process station, which limits the duration that the prepared copper surface is exposed to oxygen. The integrated system 450 can be used to process substrate(s) through the entire process sequence of flow 400 of FIG. 4A.

As described above, the surface treatments, electroless deposition of cobalt-alloy and the optional post-cobalt-alloy deposition process involve a mixture of dry and wet processes. The wet processes are typically operated near atmosphere, while the dry O2 plasma, hydrogen plasma, and O2/Ar sputtering are all operated at less than 1 Torr. Therefore, the integrated system needs to be able to handle a mixture of dry and wet processes. The integrated system 450 has 3 substrate transfer modules (or chambers) 460, 470, and 480. Transfer chambers 460, 470 and 480 are equipped with robots to move substrate 455 from one process area to another process area. The process area could be a substrate cassette, a reactor, or a loadlock. Substrate transfer module 460 is operated under lab ambient, which refers to the laboratory (or factory) environment that is under room temperature, atmospheric pressure and exposed to air, usually HEPA- or ULPA-filtered to control particle defects. Module 460 interfaces with substrate loaders (or substrate cassettes) 461 to bring the substrate 455 into the integrated system or to return the substrate to the cassette(s) 461 to continue processing outside the system 450.

As described above in process flow 400, the substrate 455 is brought to the integrated system 450 to be deposited with a cobalt-alloy, such as CoWB, CoWP, or CoWBP, after the substrate has been planarized by metal CMP to remove excess metal from the substrate surface and leaves the metal only in the metal trenches, as shown in FIG. 2C. As described in step 401 of process flow 400, the substrate, surface needs to be removed of surface contaminants such as Cu-BTA complex and other metal oxide residues. Cu-BTA and metal oxides can be removed by a wet clean process involving clean solution, such as a solution containing TMAH or complexing amines such as, but not limited to, ethylene diamine or diethylamine triamine. Following BTA-metal complex removal, metal oxides remaining on the copper and dielectric surfaces can be removed using a wet clean process involving a clean solution such as a solution containing citric acid, or other organic acid that can remove copper oxide more or less selectively to copper. Metal oxides, specifically copper oxide, can be removed using a weak organic acid such as citric acid, or other organic or inorganic acids can be used. Additionally, very dilute (i.e. <0.1%) peroxide-containing acids, such as sulfuric-peroxide mixtures, can also be used. The wet clean process can also remove other metal or metal oxide residues.

A wet clean reactor 463 can be integrated with the lab-ambient transfer module 460, which is operated at lab ambient condition. The wet clean reactor 463 can be used to perform the 1-step or 2-step clean described above at step 401 of FIG. 4A. Alternatively, an additional wet clean reactor 463′ can be integrated with the lab-ambient transfer module 460 to allow the first step of the 2-step cleaning process to be performed in reactor 463 and the second step be performed in reactor 463′. For example, a cleaning solution containing chemical such as TMAH for cleaning Cu-BTA is in reactor 463 and a cleaning solution containing a weak organic acid such as citric acid for cleaning metal oxide is in reactor 463′.

A lab ambient condition is under atmosphere and open to air. Although the wet clean reactor 463 can be integrated with the lab-ambient transfer module 460 in the process flow 400, this process step can also be performed right after metal CMP and before the substrate is brought to the integrated system for cobalt-alloy deposition. Alternatively, the wet cleaning process can be performed in a controlled ambient process environment, where the controlled ambient is maintained during and after the wet cleaning step.

Organic residues (or contaminants) not removed by the previous wet cleans can be removed by a dry oxidizing plasma process, such as oxygen-containing plasma, O2/Ar sputter, or Ar sputter following the removal of Cu-BTA and metal oxides. As described above, most plasma or sputtering processes are operated below 1 Torr; therefore, it is desirable to couple such systems (or apparatus, or chambers, or modules) to a transfer module that is operated under vacuum at pressure, such as under 1 Torr. If the transfer module integrated with the plasma process is under vacuum, substrate transfer is more time efficient and the process module is maintained under vacuum, since it does not require extended time to pump down the transfer module. In addition, since the transfer module is under vacuum, the substrate after cleaning by the plasma process is exposed to only very low levels of oxygen. Assuming the O2 plasma process is selected to clean the organic residues, the O2 plasma process reactor 471 is coupled to a vacuum transfer module 470.

Since lab-ambient transfer module 460 is operated at atmosphere and vacuum transfer module 470 is operated under vacuum (<1 Torr), a loadlock 465 is placed between these two transfer modules to allow substrate 455 to be transferred between the two modules, 460 and 470, operated under different pressures. Loadlock 465 is configured to be operated under vacuum at pressure less than 1 Torr, or at lab ambient, or to be filled with an inert gas selected form a group of inert gases.

After substrate 455 finishes the oxidizing plasma processing using O2, for example, substrate 455 is moved into the hydrogen-containing reducing plasma reduction chamber (or module) 473. Hydrogen-containing plasma reduction is typically processed at a low pressure, which is less than 1 Torr; therefore, it is coupled to the vacuum transfer module 470. Once the substrate 455 is reduced with hydrogen-containing plasma, the copper surface is clean and free of copper oxide. In a preferred embodiment, after substrate 455 finishes the O2 plasma processing, a H2 or H2/NH3 plasma reduction step can be performed in-situ, without removing the wafer from the chamber. In either case, the substrate is ready for cobalt-alloy deposition after completion of the reduction process.

As described above, it is important to control the processing and transport environments to minimize the exposure of the copper surface to oxygen after the substrate is reconditioned by the hydrogen-containing reducing plasma. The substrate 455 should be process under a controlled environment, where the environment is either under vacuum or filled with one or more inert gas to limit the exposure of substrate 455 to oxygen. Dotted line 490 outlines the boundary of a part of the integrated system 450 of FIG. 4B that show the processing systems and transfer modules whose environment is controlled. Transferring and processing under controlled environment 490 limits the exposure of the substrate to oxygen.

Cobalt-alloy electroless deposition is a wet process that involves cobalt species in a solution that is reduced by a reducing agent, which can be phosphorous-based (e.g. hypophosphite), boron-based (e.g. dimethylamine borane), or a combination of both phosphorous-based and boron-based. The solution that uses phosphorous-based reducing agent deposits CoWP. The solution that uses boron-based reducing agent deposit CoWB. The solution that uses both phosphorous-based and boron-based reducing agents deposits CoWBP. In one embodiment, the cobalt-alloy electroless deposition solution is alkaline-based. Alternatively, cobalt-alloy electroless deposition solution can also be acidic. Since wet process is typically conducted under atmospheric pressure, the transfer module 480 that is coupled to the electroless deposition reactor should be operated near atmospheric pressure. To ensure the environment is controlled to be free of oxygen, inert gas (es) can be used to fill the controlled-ambient transfer module 480. Additionally, all fluids used in the process are de-gassed, i.e. dissolved oxygen is removed by commercially available degassing systems. Exemplary inert gas includes nitrogen (N2), helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), and xenon (Xe).

In one embodiment, the wet cobalt-alloy electroless deposition reactor (or apparatus, or system, or module) is coupled with a rinse and dry system (or apparatus, or module) to allow the substrate to be transferred into the electroless deposition system 481 under dry condition and to come out of the system 481 in dry condition (dry-in/dry-out). The dry-in/dry-out requirement allows the electroless deposition system 481 to be integrated with the controlled-ambient transfer module 480, and avoids the need of a wet robotic transfer step to a separate rinse-dry module. The environment of the electroless deposition system 481 also needs to be controlled to provide low (or limited) levels of oxygen and moisture (water vapor). Inert gas can also be used to fill the system to ensure low levels of oxygen are in the processing environment.

Alternatively, cobalt-alloy electroless deposition can also be conducted in a dry-in/dry-out manner similar to electroless copper disclosed recently. A dry-in/dry-out electroless copper process has been developed for copper electroless deposition. The process uses a proximity process head to limit the electroless process liquid in contacting with the substrate surface on a limited region. The substrate surface not under the proximity process head is dry. Details of such process and system can be found in U.S. application Ser. No. 10/607,611, titled “Apparatus And Method For Depositing And Planarizing Thin Films On Semiconductor Wafers,” filed on Jun. 27, 2003, and U.S. application Ser. No. 10/879,263, titled “Method and Apparatus For Plating Semiconductor Wafers,” filed on Jun. 28, 2004, both of which are incorporated herein in their entireties. The electroless plating of cobalt-alloy can use similar proximity processing head to enable a dry-in/dry-out process.

After cobalt-alloy deposition in system 481, the substrate 455 can be sent through an optional post-deposition cleaning reactor. This can be performed using mechanical assists, such as a brush scrub using chemistry such as CP72B or hydroxylamine-based cleaning chemistries or by using other methods, such as immersion cleaning, spin-rinse cleaning, or C3™ proximity technology. A rinse and dry system must also be integrated with the brush scrub system to allow substrate 455 to be dry-in/dry-out of the wet cleaning system 483. Inert gas (es) is used to fill system 483 to ensure limited (or low) oxygen is present in the system. The system 483 is dotted to illustrate that this system is optional, since the post-deposition cleaning is optional, as described above in FIG. 4A. Since the post-deposition clean step is the last process that is to be operated by the integrated system 450, the substrate 455 needs to be brought back into cassette 461 after processing. Therefore, the cleaning system 483 can alternatively be coupled to the lab-ambient transfer module 460, as shown in FIG. 4B. If the cleaning system 483 is coupled to the lab-ambient transfer module 460, the cleaning system 483 is not operated under controlled environment and inert gas (es) does not need to fill the system.

As described above, the Cu-BTA and metal oxide removal process step(s) can also be performed right after metal CMP and before the substrate is brought to the integrated system for cobalt-alloy deposition.

Case II: Metal CMP Stops on Barrier Layer

FIGS. 5A-5C show the cross sections of an interconnect structure at various stages of processing. The copper layer on the substrate of FIG. 5A has been planarized by CMP. The barrier layer 130 has not been removed, and remains on the substrate surface. FIG. 6A shows an embodiment of a process flow of surface preparation for electrolessly depositing a cobalt-alloy over copper in the dual-damascene metal trench. The substrate(s) used in the process flow 600 of FIG. 6A have just finished copper CMP processing(s) to remove copper. Barrier layer still remains on the substrate surface, as shown in FIG. 5A. The difference between Case II and Case I is that in Case II the surface of dielectric 106 is not exposed to Cu-BTA complex or other copper compound residues. The dielectric surface has higher quality (or less metal contaminants) in Case II than in Case I. Therefore, process step(s) aiming at removing copper oxide on the dielectric layer, which is formed after O2 plasma used to remove organic contaminants, can be eliminated.

The process starts at step 601 of removing metallic contaminants, such as Cu-BTA or metal oxides, from the substrate surface. As described above, Cu-BTA complexes and metallic oxides are two key surface metallic contaminants to be removed. The processes used to remove metallic contaminants, such as Cu-BTA and metal oxides, from the substrate surface have been described above. For example, Cu-BTA and metal oxides, including copper oxides, can be removed by a wet clean process that involves a cleaning solution that includes, for example, tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) or complexing amines such as ethylenediamine or diethylenetriamine Removing Cu-BTA eliminates pattern-dependent deposition effect of cobalt-alloy (to be deposited at a later step) and hence allows uniform cobalt-alloy deposition in the dense and isolated features.

Metal oxides, specifically copper oxide, can be removed using a weak organic acid such as citric acid, or other organic or inorganic acids can be used. Additionally, very dilute (i.e. <0.1%) peroxide-containing acids, such as sulfuric-peroxide mixtures, can also be used. The wet clean process can also remove other metal or metal oxide residues.

The organic contaminants, including remaining BTA on the Cu and bather surfaces, are removed at step 602. Organic contaminants can be removed by a process such as a dry oxygen (O2) plasma process or other oxidizing plasma processes, such as plasma process with H2O, ozone, or hydrogen peroxide vapor. As described above, the oxygen-containing plasma process is preferably conducted at a relatively low temperature, below 50° C. and preferably below 120° C. The oxygen-containing plasma process can be a downstream plasma process. Alternatively, organic residues (or contaminants) can also be removed by using an O2/Ar sputtering process to physically remove the organic contaminants. As described above, O2 plasma process and O2/Ar sputtering process are typically operated under less than 1 Torr.

Once the substrate surface is free of contaminants, such as Cu-BTA, metal oxides and organic contaminants, the substrate should be exposed to as little oxygen as possible to protect the copper surface from further oxidation. After surface contaminants are removed, at step 603, barrier layer, such as Ta, TaN, Ru, or a combination of the materials, is removed from substrate surface, as shown in FIG. 5B. Barrier layer can be removed by processes, such as CF4 plasma, O2/Ar sputtering, CMP, or by a wet chemical etch. Both CF4 plasma etch and O2/Ar sputtering processes are operated at less than 1 Torr.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120269987 A1
Publish Date
10/25/2012
Document #
13534366
File Date
06/27/2012
USPTO Class
427539
Other USPTO Classes
118 50, 427123, 118719
International Class
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Drawings
30


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Coating Processes   Direct Application Of Electrical, Magnetic, Wave, Or Particulate Energy   Pretreatment Of Substrate Or Post-treatment Of Coated Substrate   Ionized Gas Utilized (e.g., Electrically Powered Source, Corona Discharge, Plasma, Glow Discharge, Etc.)   Plasma (e.g., Cold Plasma, Corona, Glow Discharge, Etc.)   Oxygen Containing Atmosphere