MKS Develops Pulsed Radio Frequency (RF) Solution For Critical Etch And Deposition Processes

Semiconductors fabricated using the latest non-planar, ultra-small transistor design (known as FinFET) promise a big leap forward in performance and power efficiency. But unlocking that potential poses some formidable challenges for semiconductor manufacturers, especially in controlling the plasma used in the etching and deposition processes.

Read how MKS scientists and engineers collaborated with a customer to develop a breakthrough solution in RF power that cracked the problem and enabled our customer to take their product to market four times faster than usual.

As the latest ultra-small transistor designs move to non-planar geometries (known as FinFETs) to deliver lower current leakage for higher performance per watt of energy consumed, semiconductor manufacturers face boundary-pushing challenges.

photo - RF Plasma Generator

Plasmas play a vital role in processing materials during the semiconductor manufacturing process. MKS RF Power products ignite and control the plasma used for etching and deposition of films and layers. The magnitude and frequency of the RF is used to control the electrons, ions and neutrals generating unique chemistries for deposition or a combination of chemistry and energetic particles for etching.

A matching network between the generator and the process chamber helps maximize the power delivered to the plasma.

Engineers searching for additional control when processing these very small circuit designs are increasingly using Pulsed RF in both etch and deposition processes.

For ultra-small geometries such as FinFETs, the idea of selectivity (etching the target material but not the mask) is crucial to the etching process. Pulsing RF helps manage the trade-off between selectivity and etch rates. Working with one of our OEM customers on advanced etch technologies for FinFETs, MKS developed a technology called Adaptive Pulse Technology that delivers exceptionally repeatable pulses resulting in precise profile control.

By delivering the RF power in consistent pulses, the energy available for etch is deterministic, leading to better control of critical dimensions and minimizing lattice damage of the surrounding area.

Our customer needed high speed pulsing. The existing pulse shapes were poor and at the pulse speeds the customer needed there was not an existing method that provided adequate control. MKS developed Adaptive Pulse Technology and had the solution in the customer's hands within three months. The customer's typical timeframe for taking solution to market was more than 12 months.

At MKS Instruments, we partner with our customers to develop advanced technology solutions for mission-critical problems.