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Plasma etch characteristics of aluminum nitride mask layers grown by low-temperature plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition in SF6 based plasmas

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7 Author(s)
Perros, Alexander ; Department of Micro- and Nanosciences, Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, P.O. Box 13500, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland ; Bosund, M. ; Sajavaara, Timo ; Laitinen, Mikko
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The plasma etch characteristics of aluminum nitride (AlN) deposited by low-temperature, 200 °C, plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) was investigated for reactive ion etch (RIE) and inductively coupled plasma-reactive ion etch (ICP-RIE) systems using various mixtures of SF6 and O2 under different etch conditions. During RIE, the film exhibits good mask properties with etch rates below 10r nm/min. For ICP-RIE processes, the film exhibits exceptionally low etch rates in the subnanometer region with lower platen power. The AlN film’s removal occurred through physical mechanisms; consequently, rf power and chamber pressure were the most significant parameters in PEALD AlN film removal because the film was inert to the SFx+ and O+ chemistries. The etch experiments showed the film to be a resilient masking material. This makes it an attractive candidate for use as an etch mask in demanding SF6 based plasma etch applications, such as through-wafer etching, or when oxide films are not suitable.

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Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 1 )