Lam Research Patent Grants

Systems and methods enabling low defect processing via controlled separation and delivery of chemicals during atomic layer deposition

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9631276
A gas delivery system includes a first valve including an inlet that communicates with a first gas source. A first inlet of a second valve communicates with an outlet of the first valve and a second inlet of the second valve communicates with a second gas source. An inlet of a third valve communicates with a third gas source. A connector includes a first gas channel and a cylinder defining a second gas channel. The cylinder and the first gas channel collectively define a flow channel…

Internal plasma grid applications for semiconductor fabrication

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9633846
The embodiments disclosed herein pertain to improved methods and apparatus for etching a semiconductor substrate. A plasma grid assembly is positioned in a reaction chamber to divide the chamber into upper and lower sub-chambers. The plasma grid assembly may include one or more plasma grids having slots of a particular aspect ratio, which allow certain species to pass through from the upper sub-chamber to the lower sub-chamber. In some cases, an electron-ion plasma is generated in the…

Method and apparatus for anisotropic tungsten etching

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9633867
Methods for anisotropically etching a tungsten-containing material (such as doped or undoped tungsten metal) include cyclic treatment of tungsten surface with Cl2 plasma and with oxygen-containing radicals. Treatment with chlorine plasma is performed while the substrate is electrically biased resulting in predominant etching of horizontal surfaces on the substrate. Treatment with oxygen-containing radicals passivates the surface of the substrate to etching, and protects the vertical…

Device for treating surfaces of wafer-shaped articles and gripping pin for use in the device

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9633890
A device for processing wafer-shaped articles comprises a rotary chuck having a series of pins adapted to hold a wafer shaped article on the rotary chuck. Each of the pins comprises a cylindrical body and a projecting gripping portion formed integrally therewith. The cylindrical body and gripping portion are made from a ceramic material. The gripping portion comprises cylindrical surfaces having a common generatrix with surfaces of the cylindrical body.

Methods for formation of low-k aluminum-containing etch stop films

Granted: April 25, 2017
Patent Number: 9633896
Dielectric AlO, AlOC, AlON and AlOCN films characterized by a dielectric constant (k) of less than about 10 and having a density of at least about 2.5 g/cm3 are deposited on partially fabricated semiconductor devices to serve as etch stop layers and/or diffusion barriers. In one implementation, a substrate containing an exposed dielectric layer (e.g., a ULK dielectric) and an exposed metal layer is contacted with an aluminum-containing compound (such as trimethylaluminum) in an iALD…

Dielectric window cleaning apparatuses

Granted: April 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9623449
A dielectric window cleaning apparatus may be used for cleaning a dielectric window of a plasma processing device. The dielectric window cleaning apparatus may comprise a window support base, a fluid containing enclosure, a window rotating mechanism, a spray arm, and multiple fluid spraying nozzles. The fluid containing enclosure may include at least one overflow containment sidewall and may be located at least partially under and at least partially around a portion of the window support…

Method for RF compensation in plasma assisted atomic layer deposition

Granted: April 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9624578
Methods for depositing film on substrates are provided. In these embodiments, the substrates are processed in batches. Due to changing conditions within a reaction chamber as additional substrates in the batch are processed, various film properties may trend over the course of a batch. The methods herein can be used to address the trending of film properties over the course of a batch. More specifically, film property trending is minimized by changing the amount of RF power used to…

Tuning a parameter associated with plasma impedance

Granted: April 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9627182
Systems and methods for tuning a parameter associated with plasma impedance are described. One of the methods includes receiving information to determine a variable. The information is measured at a transmission line and is measured when the parameter has a first value. The transmission line is used to provide power to a plasma chamber. The method further includes determining whether the variable is at a local minima and providing the first value to tune the impedance matching circuit…

System, method and apparatus for using optical data to monitor RF generator operations

Granted: April 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9627186
A system and method monitoring a plasma with an optical sensor to determine the operations of a pulsed RF signal for plasma processing including a plasma chamber with an optical sensor directed toward a plasma region. An RF generator coupled to the plasma chamber through a match circuit. An RF timing system coupled to the RF generator. A system controller is coupled to the plasma chamber, the RF generator, the optical sensor, the RF timing system and the match circuit. The system…

Dielectric repair for emerging memory devices

Granted: April 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9627608
Systems and method include providing a non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) stack including a plurality of layers. The plurality of layers includes a dielectric layer and a metal layer. The metal layer of the NVRAM stack is patterned. The patterning causes damage to lateral side portions of the dielectric layer. The lateral portions of the dielectric layer are repaired by depositing dielectric material on the lateral side portions of the dielectric layer.

Apparatus for processing wafer-shaped articles

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9616451
The harmful effects of accumulating droplets of process liquid on the outer surface of a dispense nozzle are prevented by equipping an apparatus for process wafer-shaped articles with a blow-off block that blows the droplets off the nozzle outer surface before they can coalesce and drop in an uncontrolled manner onto the work piece. The nozzle preferably has a polished and tapered outer surface to aid in blowing off any accumulated droplets of process liquid from the outer surface.

Systems and methods for improving deposition rate uniformity and reducing defects in substrate processing systems

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9617637
Systems and methods for delivering liquid precursor in a substrate processing system include supplying liquid precursor using a first valve in fluid communication with a liquid precursor source; supplying purge gas using a second valve in fluid communication with a purge gas source; arranging a third valve having a first input port in fluid communication with an output port of the first valve and a second input port in fluid communication with an output port of the second valve;…

Methods and apparatuses for showerhead backside parasitic plasma suppression in a secondary purge enabled ALD system

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9617638
Disclosed are methods of depositing films of material on semiconductor substrates employing the use of a secondary purge. The methods may include flowing a film precursor into a processing chamber and adsorbing the film precursor onto a substrate in the processing chamber such that the precursor forms an adsorption-limited layer on the substrate. The methods may further include removing at least some unadsorbed film precursor from the volume surrounding the adsorbed precursor by purging…

Pretreatment of nickel and cobalt liners for electrodeposition of copper into through silicon vias

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9617648
Prior to electrodeposition of copper onto a nickel-containing or a cobalt-containing seed layer, a semiconductor wafer is pretreated by contacting the seed layer with a pre-wetting liquid comprising cupric ions at a concentration of at least about 10 g/L, more preferably of at least about 30 g/L, and an electroplating suppressor, such as a compound from the class of polyalkylene glycols. This pre-treatment is particularly useful for wafers having one or more large recessed features, such…

Bubble and foam solutions using a completely immersed air-free feedback flow control valve

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9617652
The embodiments disclosed herein relate to methods and apparatus for promoting bubble-free circulation of processing fluids in a recirculation system. Certain disclosed techniques involve passive, mechanical valve designs that promote variable resistance to flow in a drain. Other techniques involve automated flow control schemes that utilize feedback from flow meters, level sensors, etc. to achieve a balanced and bubble-free flow. The disclosed embodiments greatly reduce the…

PECVD films for EUV lithography

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9618846
Provided herein are multi-layer stacks for use in extreme ultraviolet lithography tailored to achieve optimum etch contrast to shrink features and smooth the edges of features while enabling use of an optical leveling sensor with little or reduced error. The multi-layer stacks may include an atomically smooth layer with an average local roughness of less than a monolayer, and one or more underlayers, which may be between a target layer to be patterned and a photoresist. Also provided are…

Control of etch rate using modeling, feedback and impedance match

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9620334
A method for achieving an etch rate is described. The method includes receiving a calculated variable associated with processing a work piece in a plasma chamber. The method further includes propagating the calculated variable through a model to generate a value of the calculated variable at an output of the model, identifying a calculated processing rate associated with the value, and identifying based on the calculated processing rate a pre-determined processing rate. The method also…

Determining a malfunctioning device in a plasma system

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9620337
Systems and methods for determining a malfunctioning device in a plasma system, are described. One of the methods includes receiving an indication whether plasma is generated within a plasma chamber of the plasma system. The plasma system includes a processing portion and a power delivery portion. The method further includes determining whether the plasma system operates within constraints in response to receiving the indication that the plasma is generated, determining a value of a…

Self limiting lateral atomic layer etch

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9620376
Methods of and apparatuses for laterally etching semiconductor substrates using an atomic layer etch process involving exposing an oxidized surface of a semiconductor substrate to a fluorine-containing etch gas and heating the substrate to remove non-volatile etch byproducts by a sublimation mechanism are provided herein. Methods also including additionally pulsing a hydrogen-containing gas when pulsing the fluorine-containing etch gas. Apparatuses also include an ammonia mixing manifold…

Methods for preventing precipitation of etch byproducts during an etch process and/or subsequent rinse process

Granted: April 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9620410
Methods for processing a microelectronic topography include selectively etching a layer of the topography using an etch solution which includes a fluid in a supercritical or liquid state. In some embodiments, the etch process may include introducing a fresh composition of the etch solution into a process chamber while simultaneously venting the chamber to inhibit the precipitation of etch byproducts. A rinse solution including the fluid in a supercritical or liquid state may be…