Polarization degradation due to metal etch and/or photoresist(PR) strip processes has been investigated for Pt/SrBi2Ta2O9(SBT)/Pt ferroelectric capacitors. Interconnect metal line consisting of TiN/Al/Ti/TiN/Ti layers has been patterned by normal photolithography and plasma etch processes. We used two different sources for metal etcher, helicon or electron cyclotron resonance(ECR) source, and stripped the PR with either microwave or helicon source stripper. Polarization degradation was evaluated by measuring switching and non-switching polarization of the ferroelectric capacitors.
Neither etch machine nor etch parameters played an important role for determining polarization of the ferroelectric capacitors. Photoresist strip process, however, significantly affected the polarization of the ferroelectric capacitors. Factors affecting polarization of the ferroelectric capacitors were presence of hydrogen and plasma density during the strip process. Hydrogen atoms and protons produced by H2O or NH3 plasma penetrated through the dielectric layer and caused hydrogen induced damage. Thus the hydrogen damage was dependent on strip temperature and time. Photoresist strip with high density plasma results in charging damage to ferroelectric capacitors. It is believed that charges from the plasma are trapped at domain boundaries and interfaces, leading to polarization degradation. Damage free metal etching process for the ferroelectric capacitor was applied for the fabrication of the fully working ferroelectric random access memory.