The commercially available abrasive containing slurries for copper CMP have shown some advantages in high removal rates, low friction at low down force, and minimal to no copper residues, regardless of the polisher architecture, either rotary, orbital, or linear polishing. However, the abrasive containing slurries have some disadvantages such as high dishing and erosion with more micro-scratches due to the presence of abrasives. In contrast, the abrasive free polishing slurry has lower removal rate, and seems to be sensitive to polishing architecture, but it has good planarization, low topography, less micro-scratches, and most importantly is insensitive to over-polish.
At this stage, the best results for copper CMP are being achieved by the use of the multi-step and multi-slurry process in which copper is polished first, and barrier layers are polished with a different set of consumables. The intent of this paper is to focus on the first step, the copper removal step, and to compare different approaches for this first step; namely, the use of slurries containing abrasives with slurries that are free of abrasives on the orbital polisher. The combined process with low percent solid and small-sized abrasives for the bulk copper removal step and abrasive free polishing (AFP) slurry for the residual copper removal step on an orbital polisher has produced a very robust process window with excellent results including low topography, low erosion, insensitivity to over-polish and low cost of ownership.