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Why is Silicon currently the dominant semiconductor (3 Reasons)?

1) Its naturally occurring oxide

2) The large crystal that can be grown
3) High melting point
What is the difference between a metal, an insulator, and a semiconductor (in terms of
bandgap and electron populations)?
Metals typically have partially filled bands and a small band gap (many free electrons),
insulators have filled bands and large energy gaps (nearly zero free electrons), and
semiconductors have "nearly filled" bands and a band gap between a metal and an insulator
(some electrons escape the valence band and move into conduction band).
Define Lithography
To define the pattern in a photographic layer
Define Pattern Transfer
To transfer/etch a defined pattern into a device layer
What is the overall process sequence of the planar process?
1. Silicon Wafer (Start)
2. Grow silicon dioxide
3. Apply photoresist
4. Lithography
5. Pattern transfer/etch (then remove resist)
Methods used in our clean room to improve cleanliness:
1) HEPA filtering
2) Laminar Airflow
3) Gowning of personnel
4) Positive Air Pressure
5) Low Particulate Materials
Covalently bonded silicon has how many nearest neighbors?
In Silicon's crystal growth method, what determines the orientation of the silicon boule/ingot
that is pulled from the melt?
The orientation of the seed crystal
What is the name of the method of growing Silicon crystals?
The Czochralski Crystal Growth Method
The sensitivity of a positive photoresist is defined as...
The dose where the resist is completely removed
What is the current state-of-the-art wavelength predominantly used for optical lithography?
ArF @ 193 nm
How are resolution and depth of focus affected by increasing the numerical aperture during
Resolution improves and depth of focus decreases
What is Anisotropy?
The ratio of the vertical etching rate to the lateral etching rate
Plasma etching benefits over wet etching:
1) Higher anisotropy can be attained
2) Etching can be entirely physical
3) Silicon nitride can be etched with a resist mask
What is the result of putting a wafer on the smaller electrode vs. the bigger electrode in a
typical RF plasma etching system?
The physical ion bombardment increases
General steps of lithography:
1) Spin
2) Bake
3) Expose
4) Develop
5) Bake
What is the procedure for disposing of solvents in our cleanroom?
Solvents are disposed of in a waste storage bottle and the manifest must be filled out with your
the chemical name, amount and date of each chemical that is put in there.
What is the procedure for disposing of acids and bases in our cleanroom?
We dispose of acids and bases down the cleanroom drains in the wet benches
What is a FOUP and what is it for?
FOUP stands for Front Opening Universal Pod and consists of a plastic box that holds the wafers
has standard mechanical interfaces for connecting to and transferring wafers to semiconductor
equipment. It is used in automated clean room environments to transport the wafers (also
automatically) between the successive process steps / equipment in a typical semiconductor
How will doping Silicon with equal amounts of donors and acceptors affect conductivity?
Conductivity is unaffected but the mobility will decrease due to the strain in the lattice and
increased impurity scattering of the carriers.
What is the bandgap of Silicon?
Why does a silicon wafer in the (100) plane with a <110> flat cleave easiest in a direction
perpendicular and parallel to the wafer flat?
Because the (110) planes have the largest distance between them and the weakest bonds
between planes.
What are some desirable characteristics of a photoresist (up to 7 answers)?
1) High resolution
2) High contrast
3) Good etch resistance
4) Good adhesion
5) Few pinholes
6) High sensitivity/Good throughput
7) Large process latitude
What is the NA of a lens and what does it mean?
The Numerical Aperture, or NA, is generally a function of the diameter of the lens and the focal
distance.It is proportional to the diameter and inversely proportional to the focal length.
Therefore, the larger the lens, the higher the numerical aperture.
Physically, what is an aerial image?
The intensity profile of the light produced by an optical system at the imaging or focal plane of
system,( which is typically the surface of the resist in a lithography system)
What is meant by the resolution vs. depth-of-field trade-off in microlithography?
Since one would like high resolution (meaning a small minimum feature size) but also a large
depth-of focus, you have to balance the two. Improving your minimum feature will necessarily
depth-of-field and vice versa.
What is the advantage of a step and scan system verses a standard projection stepper?
You get all the advantages of a projection stepper, but with the ability to use a larger field size
because a scanning system gives you a larger field size for the same size lens.
In general terms, how does a plasma get created in a typical plasma etcher?
The plasma is generated by letting process gasses into a stainless steel chamber with electrodes
inside. A D.C. or R.F. voltage is put across the electrodes, accelerating any free electrons in the
gas. With proper conditions, these accelerated electrons initiate an avalanche ionization
process which forms the plasma between the electrodes.
What do we mean by saying that a particular dry etch process is a "two step" etching process?
A two-step plasma etch process is a chemistry where reactive components first form an
etch byproduct that sticks to the etching surface and then are secondarily removed by
impinging ions
What does DRIE stand for and why is it superior to other forms of etching?
Deep Reactive Ion Etch

Has excellent control of the physical component and the anisotropy

What is the range of oxide thicknesses over which the full Deal-Grove model is required?
Approximately from 50 nm to 1500 nm, and it depends on the temperature and the ambient.
Explain the difference between an oxidation process that is diffusion limited and one that is
reaction rate limited and when these situations occur in a typical silicon oxidation?
A diffusion limited oxidation is the case when a material is already thickly oxidized and the
limiting time factor is the time required for new oxidizing molecules to diffuse through the
growing oxide film and down to the surface being oxidized. A reaction rate limited oxidation
process occurs when the oxidizing layer is thin, so that diffusion through it is rapid and the rate
limiting step is the reaction rate of the oxidizing surface itself.
What oxidation method is faster and why?
The wet oxidation method is faster primarily because at any given temperature, oxide will
absorb a much higher concentration of water molecules than oxygen molecules (approximately
600x). This presents a much larger amount of oxidizing molecules to the surface being oxidized
and gives the much higher rate.
What does CVD stand for and how does it work?
A Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process is one where gas precursors, containing the
elements that comprise a
given film are let into a chamber that contains a substrate. The precursors will coat
the substrate and react, leaving the desired deposited film on the substrate and the
remaining byproducts are carried or pumped away by the system.
What are the key differences between CVD and ALD?
The basic difference is that ALD is a pulsed technique, where the precursors are
sequentially pulsed for each monolayer. The film formation is thus rather slow compared to
conventional CVD. ALD is typically also accomplished at lower temperatures, < 300C, vs 350 -
1000 C for other types of CVD.
What is "design of experiments" (DOE) and why is it useful?
DOE, or design of experiments is a procedure where an experimental space (i.e. a set
of input variables) is optimized to produce a desired output. Distinct points in the
input space are chosen and the results, or outputs are measured / characterized. The
results can then be statistically mapped for the entire input space to show the results
over the entire space. The primary advantage is that a large experimental space can be
mapped out efficiently with a limited set of experiments, to find the ideal set of input
parameters to produce the desired result.
What is the purpose of SPC?
SPC is Statistical Process Control. It is typically a manufacturing process technique used to track
the status of a manufacturing process. Variables that describe the quality of a particular aspect
or step of the process are measured and are compared against a target value (control point)
that is expected for that process.
Etch Rate
The amount of material (depth) removed per unit of time
How fast does layer etch relative to mask
(Relative to underlying stopping layer)
Control of etch across wafer
Etch Bias
Degree to which linewidth increases due to etching process
A partially or completely ionized gas
Properties of Plasma Etching:
1) Form of dry etching
2) More Chemical than physical
Properties of Reactive Ion Etching
1) Higher Resolution, more physical component
Properties of Sputtering
1) Non-reactive plasma
2) Can sputter the wafer (etch mode) or the electrode (deposition)
How does the Bosch Process work?
ICP System that alternates between deposition and etching by switching gasses
Cryogenic Etching Process
1) Low Temperature keeps SiO2 passivation adhering to walls
2) Permanent magnets on the chamber walls -> Uniformity
3) Si etch rate up to 10um/min
4) Si to SiO2 selectivities up to 1000:1
5) Si to Resist selectivities up to 250:1
6) High Precision vertical profile control
Resist Sensitivity
Amount of energy required to expose resist (mJ/cm^2)
Advantages and disadvantages of diffusion vs implantation
Diffusion creates no damage and batch fabrication is also possible

Diffusion is limited to solid solubility and it is a high-temperature process

Diffusion has an isotropic dopant profile

Solid Solubility
Maximum concentration of an impurity that a material can absorb
Difference between predep and drive in
900C - 1100C
Diffusion is shallow
Continuous dopant supply above solid solubility limit

1050C - 1200C
No dopant source
Push dopants deeper into substrate
How does increasing doping level affect carrier mobility?
It decreases mobility
What is the purpose of the exposure system in the lithography process?
To produce the sharpest aerial image possible
What is the purpose of the resist in the lithography process?
To capture or retain the aerial image and reproduce it as faithfully as possible
What is the purpose of the yellow lighting in the section of the clean room where lithography is
Prevents exposure after photoresist application
Aspect Ratio
Photoresist Thickness/Photoresist Width (T/W)
What are the primary photoresist components?
1) Inactive resin
2) Photoactive Compound (PAC)
3) Solvent
What happens during exposure for a positive resist?
1) PAC undergoes photodecomposition and creates keto-carbene
2) Keto-carbene decomposes to form a more stable ketene structure
3) Ketene reacts with water from the air to form a carboxylic acid
What can be said about a resist profile with high contrast?
It is very steep/sharp/vertical
Will a resist aerial image have a maximum or a minimum in the exposed areas of the resist?
Define MTF
Modulation Transfer Function: (Imax - Imin)/(Imax + Imin) is a measure of how high the humps
of a aerial image are relative to total intensity.
Define CMTF
Critical Modulation Transfer Function: (Qf-Qo)/(Qf+Qo) where Qf=Exposure dose at which resist
has completed faded and Qo=Exposure dose at which resist starts to fade
If MTF<CMTF, can the resist resolve the image?
No, MTF must be greater than CMTF
An exposure system tries to maximize the resolution in order to do what?
Produce the sharpest aerial image
An exposure system tries to maximize the throughput to do what?
Cycle through the most wafer levels per hour
The primary effect limiting resolution in exposure systems is what?
What are the three basic methods of exposure?
1) Contact Aligner
2) Proximity Aligner
3) Projection Aligner/Stepper
What is the purpose of immersion lithography?
Immersion lithography improves depth of focus without decreasing the NA of the lens
What is the biggest problem with decreasing fabricated devices to sizes below 5nm?
Quantum Effects: e.g. electrons are hard to control at this size and tunneling can occur
What is a viable solution to the impending constraints on device size? In other words, how can
we fit more devices in a unit of area without further decreasing the size of the devices?
Chip Stacking
Do wet etch pattern transfer processes involve chemical or physical etching?
Chemical (acids and bases)
Lift-off Steps
1) Photoresist Layer Deposited and given retrograde profile
2) Deposition of metal performed
3) Photoresist with deposited metal on it "lifted off" with solvent soak leaving behind the metal
deposited on retrograde indentation.
Dry etching generally relies on some type of ____________ or beam of reactive species.
Isotropic Etch
Horizontal Etch Rate = Vertical Etch Rate
Anisotropic Etch
Vertical Etch Rate > Horizontal Etch Rate
Totally Anisotropic Etch
Horizontal Etch Rate = 0
Etch Bias
Degree to which linewidth increases due to etching process
What is the difference between etch bias and anisotropy?
Anisotropy pertains the relationship between the horizontal/vertical etch RATES while etch bias
pertains to the relationship between the horizontal/vertical etch LINEWIDTHS
Why is it better to over-etch than under-etch?
Under-etching and leaving silicon glass/BSG on a wafer can cause devices to not work properly
or at all. Over-etching will typically not harm the devices and will ensure the device is fully
What is the purpose of RCA-1 vs. RCA-2
RCA-1 removes surface organic residue

RCA-2 removes remaining heavy metal contaminants

Why do we need a high quality oxide and oxide interface for a MOSFET?
A high quality oxide will ensure that the conductivity is high for the MOSFET allowing more
electrons to travel through the created channel
What materials does the IC industry use for interconnects?
Copper, Aluminium, Silver, Gold
What is BOE and what is it used for?
Buffered Oxide Etch: Used with HF in SiO2 wet etching. BOE maintains F concentration as it's
used up
In wet etching selectivity is generally (high/low) and demonstrates a (anisotropic/isotropic)
High, Isotropic
What is a plasma?
A plasma is basically a partially or completely IONIZED GAS
How can a plasma be created?
Add energy to a gas by heating it in a chamber with an electric or magnetic field
In dry etching, selectivity is generally (high/low) and demonstrates a (anisotropic/isotropic)
Low, Anistropic
What is ion enhanced etching?
A combined, two step process requiring both a chemical step and a physical step allowing for
excellent control of the anisotropy
In plasma etching systems, selectivity is generally (high/low) and demonstrates a
and (anisotropic/isotropic) process?
High, Chemical, Isotropic
In sputtering etching systems, selectivity is generally (high/low) and demonstrates a
and (anisotropic/isotropic) process?
Low, Physical, (not great) Anisotropic
In Reactive Ion Etching systems, selectivity is generally (high/low) and demonstrates a
and (anisotropic/isotropic) process?
Acceptable, Both, (very) Anisotropic
What are two things you can do to get vertical ion trajectories in RIE systems?
1) Increase the voltage across the sheath so ions see a stronger field
2) Lower the pressure until collisions are minimal
What are the two common DRIE Systems
1) Bosch Process
2) Cryogenic Etching Process
Are dry etching systems chemical or physical?
They can be chemical, physical, or both
Uses of SiO2 in ICs
1) Surface Passivation
2) Doping Barrier
3) Surface Dielectric
4) Device Dielectric
Why are dry oxides considered superior to wet oxides in terms of quality?
Dry oxides have smoother interfaces and are more dense
What should be reduced/eliminated from an oxide to improve performance?
Charge Center (These will affect Vt)
What is the name of the model used to approximate oxide growth?
Deal and Grove Model
T or F: The Deal and Grove Model works best for really thin oxides
False: The Deal and Grove Model breaks down for really thin oxides (< 30 nm)
The B parameter in oxide growth depends most strongly on what?
The diffusivity
Why do wet oxides grow faster than dry oxides?
Oxide absorbs water like a sponge causing the concentration of dissolved oxidant to be
significantly larger in a wet oxide.
A (wet/dry) oxide should be used for the gate oxide
Dry Oxide
What two key ingredients are required to produce diffusion?
1) A concentration gradient
2) Some minimum activation energy
Solid Solubility Limit
Maximum concentration of an impurity that a material can absorb
(T/F): Carrier diffusion relies on the electric field to transport carriers across the depletion
False, this defines drift not diffusion
What are the two steps of the diffusion process?
1) Predeposition
2) Drive-in
What are the qualities of predeposition (in reference to diffusion)?
Typically 900 °C - 1100 °C
Continuous dopant supply above solid solubility limit
Diffuse a known quantity of dopants
Diffusion is shallow
Mathematical form is the complimentary error
function (erfc)
What are the qualities of drive-in (in reference to diffusion)?
Typically 1050 °C - 1200 °C
No dopant source, just heat
Push dopants deeper into substrate
The mathematical form is Gaussian
What is the purpose of the drive-in step during diffusion?
Obtains the desired dopant profile (how far the dopant permeates semiconductor) after
introducing the dopant to semiconductor in predep.
What is the purpose of annealing after ion implantation?
1) Activates dopants
2) Repairs damage to substrate
Advantages of ion implantation
1) Lateral precision
2) Excellent dose control
3) Accurate profile control
4) Can do retrograde profiles
5) Room temperature mask
6) Can exceed solid solubility
Advantages of Diffusion
1) Low damage to semiconductor lattice
2) Batch fabrication
3) Low cost
Disadvantages of ion implantation
1) Damage
2) Channeling phenomenon
3) Shallow boron profiles challenging
Disadvantages of diffusion
1) Limited to solid solubility
2) Dose control difficult at low end
3) Propagates existing defects & impurities
What are the two "effects" going on during implantation?
1) Electronic Stopping
2) Nuclear Stopping
What is electronic stopping?
1) Ions travel through "sea" of
electrons, slowly give up energy
to them
2) small mass of electrons means
not much trajectory change
What is nuclear stopping?
1) Ions collide with nuclei
2) Similar mass means high angle collisions are likely
3) Nuclei get knocked off lattice sites
Define range (in terms of ion trajectory)
The total distance an ion travels
Define projected range (in terms of ion trajectory)
The depth of an ion into the sample from the surface
Define transverse or perpendicular range (in terms of ion trajectory)
The lateral distance traveled by an ion from the point of entry
Define Straggle
The deviation around the average depth an ion travels in a material
What is the Monte Carlo method?
1) Used to mathematically describe substrate and crystal lattice for ion implantation
2) Simulate individual atom trajectories through the crystal
(T/F): If stopping is all electronic, ions go further in material during ion implantation
What is ion channeling?
If ions impinge close to a normal angle, a high percentage will be gently steered within the
space, or channel, between rows of lattice atoms.
What are the two methods of developing a thin film on a wafer?
1) Growth
2) Deposition
What are the key issues in film deposition?
1) Composition
2) Uniformity
3) Step coverage
4) Surface flatness
5) Deposition temperature
6) Stress and adhesion
Define Composition (in terms of film deposition)
Getting the material you want
Define Uniformity (in terms of film deposition)
Getting the same material everywhere
Define Evaporation (in terms of film deposition)
To heat a material up and vaporize it, and put our wafer into this stream of vapor to deposit a
thin film
Define PVD (in terms of film deposition)
Physical Vapor Deposition: Synonymous to Sputtering. To "sand blast" a "target" of the desired
material, creating a shower of target material, into which we put our wafer to deposit a thin
Define Sputtering (in terms of film deposition)
Synonymous to PVD. To "sand blast" a "target" of the desired material, creating a shower of
target material, into which we put our wafer to deposit a thin film.
Define electroplating (in terms of film deposition)
To put a wafer in a solution containing ions of a
material and put a voltage on it, driving the ions onto the wafer.
Define CVD (in terms of film deposition)
Chemical Vapor Deposition: To expose a wafer to chemically reactive gasses and get the gasses
to react and deposit a film onto the wafer
Define ALD (in terms of film deposition)
Atomic Layer Deposition:
1) CVD with carefully controlled pulses of gasses
2) Each pulse attaches or reacts a monolayer at a time
3) Inert gas pulses remove the excess in between reactants