Novellus Systems Patent Grants

Monitoring leveler concentrations in electroplating solutions

Granted: January 2, 2018
Patent Number: 9856574
Provided herein are methods and apparatus for determining leveler concentration in an electroplating solution. The approach allows the concentration of leveler to be detected and measured, even at very low leveler concentrations. According to the various embodiments, the methods involve providing an electrode with a metal surface, exposing the electrode to a pre-acceleration solution with at least one accelerator, allowing the surface of the electrode to become saturated with…

Wetting pretreatment for enhanced damascene metal filling

Granted: December 26, 2017
Patent Number: 9852913
Disclosed are pre-wetting apparatus designs and methods. These apparatus designs and methods are used to pre-wet a wafer prior to plating a metal on the surface of the wafer. Disclosed compositions of the pre-wetting fluid prevent corrosion of a seed layer on the wafer and also improve the filling rates of features on the wafer.

Enhancement of electrolyte hydrodynamics for efficient mass transfer during electroplating

Granted: December 5, 2017
Patent Number: 9834852
The embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for electroplating one or more materials onto a substrate. In many cases the material is a metal and the substrate is a semiconductor wafer, though the embodiments are no so limited. Typically, the embodiments herein utilize a channeled plate positioned near the substrate, creating a cross flow manifold defined on the bottom by the channeled plate, on the top by the substrate, and on the sides by a cross flow confinement ring. During…

Systems for uniform heat transfer including adaptive portions

Granted: December 5, 2017
Patent Number: 9835388
Provided are adaptive heat transfer methods and systems for uniform heat transfer to and from various types of workpieces, such as workpieces employed during fabrication of semiconductor devices, displays, light emitting diodes, and photovoltaic panels. This adaptive approach allows for reducing heat transfer variations caused by deformations of workpieces. Deformation may vary in workpieces depending on types of workpieces, processing conditions, and other variables. Such deformations…

Methods and apparatus for wetting pretreatment for through resist metal plating

Granted: November 28, 2017
Patent Number: 9828688
Disclosed are pre-wetting apparatus designs and methods. In some embodiments, a pre-wetting apparatus includes a degasser, a process chamber, and a controller. The process chamber includes a wafer holder configured to hold a wafer substrate, a vacuum port configured to allow formation of a subatmospheric pressure in the process chamber, and a fluid inlet coupled to the degasser and configured to deliver a degassed pre-wetting fluid onto the wafer substrate at a velocity of at least about…

Dynamic current distribution control apparatus and method for wafer electroplating

Granted: November 21, 2017
Patent Number: 9822461
Methods, systems, and apparatus for plating a metal onto a work piece are described. In one aspect, an apparatus includes a plating chamber, a substrate holder, an anode chamber housing an anode, an ionically resistive ionically permeable element positioned between a substrate and the anode chamber during electroplating, an auxiliary cathode located between the anode and the ionically resistive ionically permeable element, and an insulating shield with an opening in its central region.…

Configuration and method of operation of an electrodeposition system for improved process stability and performance

Granted: November 14, 2017
Patent Number: 9816193
Methods, systems, and apparatus for plating a metal onto a work piece with a plating solution having a low oxygen concentration are described. In one aspect, a method includes reducing an oxygen concentration of a plating solution. The plating solution includes about 100 parts per million or less of an accelerator. After reducing the oxygen concentration of the plating solution, a wafer substrate is contacted with the plating solution in a plating cell. The oxygen concentration of the…

Method and apparatus for electroplating semiconductor wafer when controlling cations in electrolyte

Granted: November 14, 2017
Patent Number: 9816196
Apparatus and methods for electroplating metal onto substrates are disclosed. The electroplating apparatus comprise an electroplating cell and at least one oxidization device. The electroplating cell comprises a cathode chamber and an anode chamber separated by a porous barrier that allows metal cations to pass through but prevents organic particles from crossing. The oxidation device (ODD) is configured to oxidize cations of the metal to be electroplated onto the substrate, which…

Methods for depositing films on sensitive substrates

Granted: October 10, 2017
Patent Number: 9786570
Methods and apparatus to form films on sensitive substrates while preventing damage to the sensitive substrate are provided herein. In certain embodiments, methods involve forming a bilayer film on a sensitive substrate that both protects the underlying substrate from damage and possesses desired electrical properties. Also provided are methods and apparatus for evaluating and optimizing the films, including methods to evaluate the amount of substrate damage resulting from a particular…

Detection of plating on wafer holding apparatus

Granted: August 29, 2017
Patent Number: 9746427
The embodiments herein relate to methods and apparatus for detecting whether unwanted metallic deposits are present on a bottom of a substrate holder used in an electroplating apparatus. The presence of such unwanted deposits is harmful to electroplating processes because the deposits scavenge current that is intended to cause electroplating on a substrate. When such current scavenging occurs, the electroplating results on the substrates are poor. For instance, features positioned near…

Wafer chuck with aerodynamic design for turbulence reduction

Granted: August 15, 2017
Patent Number: 9732416
A rotatable wafer chuck includes chuck arms and wafer holders that are aerodynamically shaped to reduce turbulence during rotation. A wafer holder may include a friction support and an independently rotatable vertical alignment member and clamping member that is shaped to reduce drag. The shape reduces turbulence during edge bevel etching to improve the uniformity of the edge exclusion and during high-speed rotation to improve particle performance.

Dual-plenum showerhead with interleaved plenum sub-volumes

Granted: August 8, 2017
Patent Number: 9728380
Apparatuses and techniques for providing for variable radial flow conductance within a semiconductor processing showerhead are provided. In some cases, the radial flow conductance may be varied dynamically during use. In some cases, the radial flow conductance may be fixed but may vary as a function of radial distance from the showerhead centerline. Both single plenum and dual plenum showerheads are discussed.

System and apparatus for flowable deposition in semiconductor fabrication

Granted: August 1, 2017
Patent Number: 9719169
Electronic device fabrication processes, apparatuses and systems for flowable gap fill or flowable deposition techniques are described. In some implementations, a semiconductor fabrication chamber is described which is configured to maintain a semiconductor wafer at a temperature near 0° C. while maintaining most other components within the fabrication chamber at temperatures on the order of 5-10° C. or higher than the wafer temperature.

Apparatus for wetting pretreatment for enhanced damascene metal filling

Granted: August 1, 2017
Patent Number: 9721800
Disclosed are pre-wetting apparatus designs and methods. These apparatus designs and methods are used to pre-wet a wafer prior to plating a metal on the surface of the wafer. Disclosed compositions of the pre-wetting fluid prevent corrosion of a seed layer on the wafer and also improve the filling rates of features on the wafer.

Apparatus and method for edge bevel removal of copper from silicon wafers

Granted: June 20, 2017
Patent Number: 9685353
Chemical etching methods and associated modules for performing the removal of metal from the edge bevel region of a semiconductor wafer are described. The methods and systems provide the thin layer of pre-rinsing liquid before applying etchant at the edge bevel region of the wafer. The etchant is less diluted and diffuses faster through a thinned layer of rinsing liquid. An edge bevel removal embodiment involving that is particularly effective at reducing process time, narrowing the…

Multi-plenum, dual-temperature showerhead

Granted: June 13, 2017
Patent Number: 9677176
A dual-temperature, multi-plenum showerhead for use in semiconductor processing equipment is described. The showerhead may supply multiple separate gases to a wafer reaction area while keeping the gases largely segregated within the showerhead. Additionally, the showerhead may be configured to allow a faceplate of the showerhead to be maintained at a significantly higher temperature than the rest of the showerhead.

Electrofill vacuum plating cell

Granted: June 13, 2017
Patent Number: 9677188
The disclosed embodiments relate to methods and apparatus for immersing a substrate in electrolyte in an electroplating cell under sub-atmospheric conditions to reduce or eliminate the formation/trapping of bubbles as the substrate is immersed. Various electrolyte recirculation loops are disclosed to provide electrolyte to the plating cell. The recirculation loops may include pumps, degassers, sensors, valves, etc. The disclosed embodiments allow a substrate to be immersed quickly,…

Method for depositing a chlorine-free conformal SiN film

Granted: June 6, 2017
Patent Number: 9670579
Described are methods of making silicon nitride (SiN) materials on substrates. Improved SiN films made by the methods are also included. One aspect relates to depositing chlorine (Cl)-free conformal SiN films. In some embodiments, the SiN films are Cl-free and carbon (C)-free. Another aspect relates to methods of tuning the stress and/or wet etch rate of conformal SiN films. Another aspect relates to low-temperature methods of depositing high quality conformal SiN films. In some…

Low temperature tungsten film deposition for small critical dimension contacts and interconnects

Granted: June 6, 2017
Patent Number: 9673146
Provided are methods of void-free tungsten fill of high aspect ratio features. According to various embodiments, the methods involve a reduced temperature chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process to fill the features with tungsten. In certain embodiments, the process temperature is maintained at less than about 350° C. during the chemical vapor deposition to fill the feature. The reduced-temperature CVD tungsten fill provides improved tungsten fill in high aspect ratio features, provides…

Tensile dielectric films using UV curing

Granted: May 23, 2017
Patent Number: 9659769
A highly tensile dielectric layer is generated on a heat sensitive substrate while not exceeding thermal budget constraints. Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation is used to produce highly tensile films to be used, for example, in strained NMOS transistor architectures. UV curing of as-deposited PECVD silicon nitride films, for example, has been shown to produce films with stresses of at least 1.65 E10 dynes/cm2. Other dielectric capping layer film materials show similar results. In transistor…