Chemical Mechanical Planarization has become a method of choice for planarization of metal and oxide layers in microelectronics industry. A CMP process includes up to 16 variables that need to be controlled to achieve a stable CMP process . One of the major variables in CMP is related to slurry compositions. In particularly, a uniform distribution of the sizes of the abrasive particle in slurry is crucial for a stable CMP performance. The agglomerates can be unstable, since their size depends on addition of chemical additives and shearing during the CMP process.
In this work, the authors studied agglomeration of the fumed and colloidal silica-based slurries using dynamic rheometry, zeta potential tests, and an accusizer.
Slurry viscosity, determined using a steady state rheometry, was correlated to the particle charge, characterized by zeta potential, and to the particle sizes obtained using the particle size analyzer. Additionally, rheometer was used for slurry shearing to study effect of shear on slurry characteristics. Particle agglomeration due to slurry shearing and storage was observed and corroborated using rheometry, zeta potential, and particle size measurements.