Back End of Line (BEOL) cleaning of copper based structures requires chemical formulations that can remove copper oxide selectively without corroding copper and etching the dielectric. Many commercially available semi-aqueous and all aqueous formulations claim to meet these criteria. These include semi-aqueous fluoride strippers (SAF) and all- aqueous ammonium phosphate based chemical systems.
This paper will report the results from a fundamental study undertaken to evaluate the performance of a semi-aqueous fluoride formulation in removing copper oxide films of controlled thickness grown on copper. The thickness and composition of the oxide films were determined electrochemically using cathodic reduction technique. Electrochemical impedance spectra of samples immersed in the formulation have been measured as a function of time to follow copper oxide dissolution and the data have been analyzed to detect the transition of copper oxide to copper.