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Statistical feedback control of a plasma etch process

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2 Author(s)
Mozumder, P.K. ; Semicond. Process & Design Center, Texas Instrum. Inc., Dallas, TX, USA ; Barna, Gabriel G.

This paper presents the methodology developed for the automatic feedback control of a silicon nitride plasma etch process. The methodology provides an augmented level of control for semiconductor manufacturing processes, to the level that the operator inputs the required process quality characteristics (e.g. etch rate and uniformity values) instead of the desired process conditions (e.g., specific RF power, pressure, gas flows). The optimal equipment settings are determined from previously generated process/equipment models. The control algorithm is driven by the in-situ measurements, using in-line sensors monitoring each wafer. The sensor data is subjected to Statistical Quality Control (SQC) to determine if deviations from the required process observable values can be attributed to noise in the system or are due to a sustained anomalous behavior of the equipment. Once a change in equipment behavior is detected, the process/equipment models are adjusted to match the new state of the equipment. The updated models are used to run subsequent wafers until a new SQC failure is observed. The algorithms developed have been implemented and tested, and are currently being used to control the etching of wafers under standard manufacturing conditions

Published in:

Semiconductor Manufacturing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 1 )