While repeatable and accurate measurement of temperature in rapid thermal processing (RTP) remains a subject of ongoing research, inception of large-diameter wafers and deep subhalf micron design rules may be viewed as good news for implementing RTP during the development phase for later transfer to volume manufacturing. To date, the only well-established application of RTP in manufacturing is silicide annealing. However, research during the past decade has demonstrated the feasibility of using RTP to replace essentially all furnace-based thermal processes in sub-half micron process flows. These developments in the RTP capability offer several technological and economic benefits such as improved defect control, higher product yields, and faster development cycles for DRAM-type technologies at a reduced cost and with an earlier entry of the driver products during the revenue-generating period.
In this paper, we review several applications of RTP such as silicide anneals, borophosphosilicate glass (BPSG) reflow, dopant activation, and rapid thermal nitridation (RTN) and discuss the integration issues related to advanced process flows. Furthermore, we highlight important manufacturing parameters like throughput, machine cost and uptime, software and hardware issues, wafer dimensional analysis, and simulation expectations. While considering volume manufacturing, we make some calibration and process control recommendations.