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Vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) photons in plasma processing systems are known to alter surface chemistry and may damage gate dielectrics and photoresist. We characterize absolute VUV fluxes to surfaces exposed in an inductively coupled argon plasma, 1–50 mTorr, 25–400 W, using a calibrated VUV spectrometer. We also demonstrate an alternative method to estimate VUV fluence in an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) reactor using a chemical dosimeter-type monitor. We illustrate the technique with argon ICP and xenon lamp exposure experiments, comparing direct VUV measurements with measured chemical changes in 193 nm photoresist-covered Si wafers following VUV exposure.