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In Copper back-end-of-line (BEOL), the “punchthru™ process” – removal of barrier material from via bottom during etch/re-sputter step, and gouging into the underlying Copper line - has been increasingly used in 65nm production for its superior reliability. However, with the adoption of porous low-k dielectric at 45nm node and beyond, the conventional punchthru process can cause physical damage to the porous dielectric, such as roughening of the trench bottom in dual damascene structures, micro-trenching in the bottom of single trenches, which may have reliability implications. This paper reported on the use of off-angular Tantalum neutral flux during the re-sputter process to improve the selectivity between the via and trench bottom in order to protect the trench bottom and via bevel, while still allowing sufficient gouging into the underlying Copper line. In addition, the plasma density and ion energy are adjusted to further optimize selectivity, and to eliminate any micro-trenching. Therefore, this paper demonstrated PVD high deposit/etch selectivity process based on transmission-electron microscopy (TEM) and studies of electrical test result. This approach has extended the PVD Tantalum barrier process to at least 32nm node.
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