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Patent Analysis of

Vapor phase etching of hafnia and zirconia

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10002772

Application Number

US15/613773

Application Date

05 June 2017

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

ENTEGRIS, INC.

Original Assignee (Applicant)

ENTEGRIS, INC.

International Classification

B44C1/22,C03C15/00,C03C25/68,C23F1/00,H01L21/311

Cooperative Classification

H01L21/31122

Inventor

HENDRIX, BRYAN C.

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10002772 Vapor phase etching hafnia 1 US10002772 Vapor phase etching hafnia 2 US10002772 Vapor phase etching hafnia 3
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Abstract

A method is described for vapor phase etching of oxide material including at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material. The method involves contacting the oxide material with an etching medium including at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride under conditions producing a removable fluid reaction product, and removing the removable fluid reaction product. The etching process may be controllably carried out by use of pressure swings, temperature swings, and/or modulation of partial pressure of Hf or Zr chloride in the reaction, e.g., to achieve precision etch removal in the manufacture of semiconductor devices such as 3D NAND, sub-20 nm DRAMs, and finFETs.

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Claims

1. A method of vapor phase etching comprising: contacting the oxide material with an etching medium to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, wherein the oxide material comprises at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material, and wherein the etching medium comprises at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride; under conditions producing a removable fluid reaction product; and removing the removable fluid reaction product.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the contacting of the oxide material with the etching medium results in a self-limiting reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising modulating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to control depth of etching of the oxide material by the etching medium.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the modulating comprises at least one of (i) pressure swing modulation, (ii) temperature swing modulation, and (iii) modulation of partial pressure of hafnium chloride and/or zirconium chloride formed in the reaction of the oxide material with the etching medium.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium produces volatile oxychloride byproduct as at least part of the removable reaction product.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the etching medium comprises a tungsten chloride etchant comprising at least one of WCl6, W2Cl10, and PCl3, PCl5.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises the reaction WCl6+0.5 HfO2→WOCl4+0.5 HfCl4.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein removing the removable fluid reaction product comprises volatilizing HfCl4, as the removable fluid reaction product.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises the reaction W2Cl10(g)+HfO2(s)=2 WOCl3(s)+HfCl4(g).

10. The method of claim 6, wherein the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises the reaction PCl5+0.5 HfO2→POCl3+0.5 HfCl4.

11. The method of claim 6, wherein the reaction of the oxide material and etching medium comprises the reaction PCl3(g)+0.75 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(l)+0.75 HfCl4(s).

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the reaction of the oxide material in the etching medium also produces a non-fluid reaction product.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the non-fluid reaction product comprises a solid reaction product that accumulates on the oxide material and causes the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to be self-limiting in character.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the removable fluid reaction product comprises P2O3 and the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium is conducted so that P2O3(l) accumulates on the oxide material and causes the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to be self-limiting in character.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising removing the accumulated P2O3(l) from the oxide material by contacting the accumulated P2O3(l) with at least one of HCl and Cl2.

16. The method of claim 1, wherein the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium produces, in addition to the removable fluid reaction product, a solid reaction product that accumulates on the oxide material and causes the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to be self-limiting in character.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein removal of the accumulated solid reaction product from the oxide material comprises reacting the accumulated solid reaction product with an effective chemical reactant.

18. A method of vapor phase etching comprising: contacting the oxide material with an etching medium to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, wherein the oxide material comprising at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material, and wherein the etching medium comprising at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride; under conditions producing a liquid and/or solid reaction product that limits etching rate and/or etching depth of the oxide material in the vapor phase etching thereof; terminating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium; and removing the liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein removing the liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material comprises volatilizing the liquid reaction product.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein removing liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material comprises reacting the liquid and/or solid reaction product with a removingly effective chemical reactant, wherein the removingly chemical reactant reacts with the liquid and/or solid reaction product to produce a gaseous or vapor reaction product.

21. The method of claim 18, further comprising modulating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to control depth of etching of the oxide material by the etching medium.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A method of vapor phase etching comprising:
    • contacting the oxide material with an etching medium to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, wherein the oxide material comprises at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material, and wherein the etching medium comprises at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride
    • under conditions producing a removable fluid reaction product
    • and removing the removable fluid reaction product.
    • 2. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the contacting of the oxide material with the etching medium results in a self-limiting reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium.
    • 3. The method of claim 1, further comprising
      • modulating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to control depth of etching of the oxide material by the etching medium.
    • 5. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium produces volatile oxychloride byproduct as at least part of the removable reaction product.
    • 6. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the etching medium comprises
    • 7. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises
    • 9. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises
    • 12. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the reaction of the oxide material in the etching medium also produces a non-fluid reaction product.
    • 14. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the removable fluid reaction product comprises
    • 16. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium produces, in addition to the removable fluid reaction product, a solid reaction product that accumulates on the oxide material and causes the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to be self-limiting in character.
  • 18
    18. A method of vapor phase etching comprising:
    • contacting the oxide material with an etching medium to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, wherein the oxide material comprising at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material, and wherein the etching medium comprising at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride
    • under conditions producing a liquid and/or solid reaction product that limits etching rate and/or etching depth of the oxide material in the vapor phase etching thereof
    • terminating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium
    • and removing the liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material.
    • 19. The method of claim 18, wherein
      • removing the liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material comprises
    • 20. The method of claim 18, wherein
      • removing liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material comprises
    • 21. The method of claim 18, further comprising
      • modulating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to control depth of etching of the oxide material by the etching medium.
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Description

FIELD

The present disclosure relates to vapor phase etching of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2) and more specifically to etching of such type that is self-limiting in character and that is conducted without plasma exposure of the material being etched.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

High k dielectric materials are extensively used in the manufacture of semiconductor devices. Among high k dielectric materials, hafnia and zirconia are in widespread use. Manufacture of semiconductor devices requires that high k dielectric films be precisely sized and shaped in the overall device architecture. For this purpose, etching is employed, in which an etchant medium is contacted with the dielectric film to effect removal of dielectric film material.

The etching operation may employ wet etchant methods in which liquid chemical etching medium is contacted with the dielectric film. Such etching is capable of being carried out with high rates of material removal and high selectivity, but chemical costs for such etching are substantial. Alternatively, the etching operation may employ dry etching methods such as plasma, e.g., reactive ion etching techniques, in which ionized species contact the dielectric film to effect dielectric material removal. The reagent costs of dry etchant media are typically lower than those associated with use of liquid chemical etchants, but significant capital equipment costs are associated with ionization and plasma generation of the etching medium source material. Ion etching can also induce damage such as vacancies or charged point defects in sensitive regions of the semiconductor device.

Atomic layer etch (ALE) involving plasma etching has been contemplated to achieve layer-by-layer, or atom-by-atom, etching of deposited films, but as line widths decrease and the industry moves toward atomic-level scaling, ion-related damage associated with such technique becomes significant and requires new approaches. In device applications such as 3D NAND, sub-20 nm DRAMs, finFETs, and GAA (gate all around) and in other emerging device technologies, it becomes vital to provide self-limiting monoatomic layer removal capabilities. In addition, some of these applications requires that the etching is isotropic, removing material evenly over a complex geometry.

It would therefore be advantageous to provide an etching technique that avoids the capital equipment costs associated with ionization and plasma generation, that avoids the large volumes of chemical typically required for chemical etching due to continuous replenishment requirements to maintain high rates of etching, and that is able to achieve ALE-scale removal of material such as hafnia and zirconia.

SUMMARY

The present disclosure relates to etching of hafnia and zirconia, e.g., in the manufacture of semiconductor products and microelectronic devices.

In one aspect, the disclosure relates to a method of vapor phase etching of oxide material comprising at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material, the method comprising contacting the oxide material with an etching medium comprising at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, under conditions producing a removable fluid reaction product, and removing the removable fluid reaction product.

In another aspect, the disclosure relates to a method of vapor phase etching of oxide material comprising at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material, the method comprising contacting the oxide material with an etching medium comprising at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, under conditions producing a liquid and/or solid reaction product that limits etching rate and/or etching depth of the oxide material in the vapor phase etching thereof, terminating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium, and removing the liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material.

Other aspects, features, and advantages of the disclosure will be more fully apparent from the ensuing disclosure and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is prior art which depicts a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reaction of hafnia and chlorine gas (Cl2) (top line, dashed) and the reaction of hafnia and hydrogen chloride (bottom line, solid).

FIG. 2 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reaction WnClx(g)+HfO2(s), wherein n=1 or 2, in which the gaseous phase (g) tungsten chloride is reacted with the solid phase (s) hafnia, for (i) WClx(g)=WCl6 in the reaction WCl6(g)+0.5 HfO2(s)=WOCl4(g)+0.5 HfCl4(g), whose free energy change is shown by the curve in solidas being in a range of from −80 kJ/mol WCl6(g) to −105 kJ/mol WCl6(g) over the temperature range of from 0° C. to 1000° C., and (ii) WnClx(g)=W2Cl10 in the reaction W2Cl10(g)+HfO2(s)=2 WOCl3(g)+HfCl4(g), whose free energy change is shown by the curve in dashed as being in a range of from −335 kJ/mol to −27 kJ/mol W2Cl10(g) over the temperature range of from 0° C. to 800° C., and being negative (Δg, <0 kJ/mol) up to about 865° C.

FIG. 3 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol of X, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reaction WOCl3(s)+X(g), in which the gaseous phase (g) X (=HCl or Cl2) is reacted with the solid phase (s) oxychloride WOCl3(s), for the reactions: (i) WOCl3(s)+HCl(g)=WOCl4(g)+0.5 H2(g), whose free energy as shown by the dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of 130 kJ/mol HCl; (ii) 0.5 WOCl3(s)+HCl(g)=0.25 W2Cl10(g)+0.5 H2O, whose free energy as shown by the dotted line including a 0° C. free energy of 100 kJ/mol HCl; and (iii) 2 WOCl3(s)+Cl2(g)=2 WOCl4(g), whose free energy as shown by the solid line including a 0° C. free energy of 72 kJ/mol Cl2.

FIG. 4 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reactions (i) PCl5(g)+0.5 HfO2(s)=POCl3(g)+0.5 HfCl4(g), whose free energy as shown by the solid line including a 0° C. free energy of −120 kJ/mol PCl5; (ii) PCl5(g)+0.5 HfO2(s)=POCl3(g)+0.5 HfCl(s), whose free energy as shown by the fine dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of −145 kJ/mol PCl5; (iii) PCl5(g)+1.25 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(l)+1.25 HfCl4(s)+0.5 O2(g), whose free energy as shown by the coarse dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of −42 kJ/mol PCl5; and (iv) PCl5(g)+1.25 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(g)+1.25 HfCl4(s)+0.5 O2(g), whose free energy as shown by the dotted line including a 0° C. free energy of 158 kJ/mol PCl5.

FIG. 5 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reactions (i) PCl3(g)+0.75 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(g)+0.75 HfCl4(s), whose free energy as shown by the dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of 55 kJ/mol PCl3, and (ii) PCl3(g)+0.75 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(l)+0.75 HfCl4(s), whose free energy as shown by the solid line including a 0° C. free energy of −146 kJ/mol PCl3.

FIG. 6 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol etch gas, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reactions of P2O3(l)+X(g), wherein: (i) X=HCl(g), whose free energy as shown by the dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of 61 kJ/mol etch gas; (ii) X=Cl2(g), whose free energy as shown by the solid line including a 0° C. free energy of 10 kJ/mol etch gas; and (iii) X=Cl2(g)+HCl(g), whose free energy as shown by the dotted line including a 0° C. free energy of −3 kJ/mol etch gas.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure relates to etching of hafnia and zirconia, and more specifically to vapor phase etching of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2) and further specifically to etching of such type that is self-limiting in character and that is conducted without plasma exposure of the material being etched.

As used herein, the term “removable fluid reaction product” refers to gaseous or vapor-phase reaction product, and/or volatilizable liquid reaction product.

The disclosure relates in various particular aspects to vapor phase etching of hafnia and zirconia involving self-limiting etching reactions. In other aspects, the disclosure relates to vapor phase etching of hafnia and zirconia, in which such hafnium and/or zirconium oxide material is contacted with an etching medium comprising at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, in which the reaction product comprises fluid(s), or fluid(s) and solid(s). The fluid reaction product(s) may be removed from the oxide material in any suitable manner, e.g., by pumping, vacuum drawing, displacement by a displacing fluid, reaction with a further reactant fluid, or in any other manner that separates the fluid reaction product(s) from the oxide material. The removal of the removable fluid reaction product(s) may be carried out during the vapor phase etching of the oxide material, or the vapor phase etching reaction may be terminated, following which the removal of the removable fluid reaction product(s) is carried out.

When the reaction of the oxide material and etching medium produces solid reaction product(s), the solid reaction product(s) may likewise be removed in any suitable manner, such as volatilization thereof by increasing temperature, reducing pressure, flowing inert gas over the solid reaction product(s) to maximize concentration gradient driving force for volatilization, reacting the solid reaction product(s) with a further reactant material to effect removal, and/or any other suitable modes and techniques for removing the solid reaction product(s) from the oxide material. The removal of the solid reaction product(s) may be carried out during the vapor phase etching of the oxide material, or the vapor phase etching reaction may be terminated, following which the removal of the solid reaction product(s) can be carried out.

It will be apparent from the ensuing disclosure that the vapor phase etching of hafnia and/or zirconia oxide materials can be carried out in any of numerous and variant manners to effectuate removal of such oxide materials, and that the methods can be readily and effectively deployed in semiconductor manufacturing operations involving hafnia and/or zirconia films or materials requiring precision formation in forming the semiconductor products, e.g., semiconductor devices, semiconductor device precursor assemblies and components, integrated circuitry, and numerous other products.

It is well-established that very stable oxides are difficult to volatilize. In the case of hafnium and zirconium, chlorides have some volatility in a temperature range of from 150° C. to 200° C., but HCl or even chlorine gas (Cl2) does not react readily with the oxides to form chlorides. This is shown in FIG. 1, which is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reaction of hafnia and chlorine gas (Cl2) (top line, dashed) and the reaction of hafnia and hydrogen chloride (bottom line, solid), indicating a free energy change that is positive and well above zero. Accordingly, the graph of FIG. 1 shows that hafnia (HfO2) does not convert to HfCl4 readily in the presence of either chlorine gas or HCl.

The present disclosure in various aspects contemplates the use of volatile chlorides that have volatile oxychloride by-products to effect etch removal reaction. In order to utilize such volatile chloride etchants and control depth of etching by a self-limiting process, the etching reaction can be precisely controlled by use of pressure swings, temperature swings, and/or modulation of partial pressure of the Hf or Zr chloride in the reaction.

In specific embodiments, the etchant medium may comprise a tungsten chloride etchant such as WCl6 and/or W2Cl10.

FIG. 2 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reaction WnClx(g)+HfO2(s), wherein n=1 or 2, in which the gaseous phase (g) tungsten chloride is reacted with the solid phase (s) hafnia, for (i) WClx(g)=WCl6 in the reaction WCl6(g)+0.5 HfO2(s)=WOCl4(g)+0.5 HfCl4(g), whose free energy change is shown by the curve with the solid line as being in a range of from −80 kJ/mol to −105 kJ/mol over the temperature range of from 0° C. to 1000° C., and (ii) WnClx(g)=W2Cl10 in the reaction W2Cl10(g)+HfO2(s)=WOCl3(g)+HfCl4(g), whose free energy change is shown by the curve with the dashed line as being in a range of from −335 kJ/mol to −27 kJ/mol over the temperature range of from 0° C. to 800° C., and being negative (Δg, <0 kJ/mol) up to about 865° C.

FIG. 2 shows that the free energy of the reactions in which WnClx(g) converts to the tungsten oxychloride and HfCl4 in the presence of HfO2 is negative over a wide range of temperatures. In addition, the change in enthalpy for these reactions is also significantly negative over the wide range of temperatures.

In the reaction WCl6+0.5 HfO2 =WOCl4+0.5 HfCl4, the WOCl4 reaction product is more volatile than the incoming reactant WCl6, so the WOCl4 reaction product cannot be used to limit the etch depth. If temperature is kept in the 150-200° C. range in which HfCl4 is volatile, then a continuous vapor phase etch can be achieved. In order to limit the etch depth, the process conditions can be selected so that HfCl4 is less volatile. For example, a flow of HfCl4 vapor above the surface being etched can limit the evaporation during the reaction step, with such flow of flow of HfCl4 vapor being turned off during a clean-off step in which the flow of both WCl6 and HfCl4 are stopped and an inert gas such as N2 or Ar is flowing. Alternatively, a lower temperature can be chosen for the reaction step, at which WCl6 and WOCl4 are volatile, but HfCl4 stays on the surface, so that temperature thereafter can be raised to effect a clean-off step.

In an embodiment of the disclosure, the first half of the reaction at different temperature ranges for WCl6+0.5 HfO2 =WOCl4+0.5 HfCl4, can be shown in Table 1 below and wherein the second half clean off step, volatization of the HfCl4 is facile in the 150-500° C. range. In Table 1, Delta H stands for the change in enthalpy, Delta S the change in entropy, and deltaG the change in Gibbs free energy as known to the person in the ordinary skill in the art.


TABLE 1
0.5 HfO2 + WCl6(g) = 0.5 HfCl4(s) +
WOCl4(g)
T
deltaH
deltaS
deltaG
° C.
kJ
J/K
kJ
100.0
−72.6
26.5
−82.5
110.0
−72.7
26.4
−82.8
120.0
−72.7
26.2
−83.0
130.0
−72.8
26.1
−83.3

In the reaction W2Cl10(g)+HfO2(s)=2 WOCl3(s)+HfCl4(g), the resulting WOCl3 has low volatility and builds up to limit reaction depth. A clean-off step can then be conducted using chlorine (Cl2) or higher temperature and HCl to remove the WOCl3 as shown by FIG. 3.

FIG. 3 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol of X, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reaction WOCl3(s)+X(g), in which the gaseous phase (g) X (=HCl or Cl2) is reacted with the solid phase (s) oxychloride WOCl3(s), for the reactions: (i) WOCl3(s)+HCl(g)=WOCl4(g)+0.5 H2(g), whose free energy as shown by the dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of 130 kJ/mol HCl; (ii) 0.5 WOCl3(s)+HCl(g)=0.25 W2Cl10(g)+0.5 H2O, whose free energy as shown by the dotted line including a 0° C. free energy of 100 kJ/mol HCl; and (iii) 2 WOCl3(s)+Cl2(g)=2 WOCl4(g), whose free energy as shown by the solid line including a 0° C. free energy of 72 kJ/mol Cl2.

FIG. 3 thus evidences various routes for resetting a surface passivated by WOCl3 as a result of the etch reaction, utilizing hydrogen chloride or chlorine gas. In respect of FIGS. 2 and 3, WCl6 can work as an isotropic etchant, and W2Cl10 reacts to form a non-volatile product, with respect to which chlorine (Cl2) can be used as a resetting agent.

In an embodiment of the disclosure, the first half of the reaction (W2Cl10(g)+HfO2(s)=2 WOCl3(s)+HfCl4(g) has a driving force at different temperature ranges as shown in Table 3; the second half of the reaction (2 WOCl3(s)+Cl2(g)=2 WOCl4(g) has a driving force as shown in Table 4. Wherein according to an embodiment of the disclosure the driving force is when the delta G is negative, the energetics are pushing the reaction forward, and we call this the driving force.


TABLE 3
HfO2 +60 W2Cl10(g) = HfCl4(s) +
2WOCl3(s)
T
deltaH
deltaS
deltaG
° C.
kJ
J/K
kJ
100.0
−409.9
−268.8
−309.6
150.0
−420.5
−295.6
−295.5
200.0
−431.3
−319.6
−280.1
250.0
−442.2
−341.5
−263.5
300.0
−453.2
−361.6
−246.0
350.0
−464.3
−380.1
−227.4
400.0
−475.4
−397.3
−208.0
450.0
−486.6
−413.4
−187.7
500.0
−497.9
−428.5
−166.6


TABLE 4
2WOCl3(s) + Cl2(g) = 2WOCl4(g)
T
deltaH
deltaS
deltaG
C.
kJ
J/K
kJ
100.0
136.1
227.0
51.3
150.0
145.7
251.4
39.4
200.0
155.7
273.6
26.2
250.0
165.9
294.0
12.0
300.0
176.2
312.9
−3.1
350.0
186.7
330.4
−19.2
400.0
197.3
346.8
−36.2
450.0
208.0
362.1
−53.9
500.0
218.8
376.5
−72.4

In this case, it is preferred to work in the 300-500° C. range to allow both half reactions to be facile without pressure variation and deltaG is negative for both the first half and second half of the reaction.

In other embodiments, phosphorous chlorides may be utilized as etchant media in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reactions (i) PCl5(g)+0.5 HfO2(s)=POCl3(g)+0.5 HfCl4(g), whose free energy as shown by the solid line including a 0° C. free energy of −120 kJ/mol PCl5; (ii) PCl5(g)+0.5 HfO2(s)=POCl3(g)+0.5 HfCl(s), whose free energy as shown by the gray dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of −145 kJ/mol PCl5; (iii) PCl5(g)+0.25 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(l)+1.25 HfCl4(s)+0.5 O2(g), whose free energy as shown by the black dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of −42 kJ/mol PCl5; and (iv) PCl5(g)+1.25 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(g)+1.25 HfCl4(s)+0.5 O2(g), whose free energy as shown by the dotted line including a 0° C. free energy of 158 kJ/mol PCl5.

FIG. 4 shows that the free energy is highly favorable to form POCl3 from PCl5 and HfO2, and that the reaction of PCl5+HfO2 to form POCl3+HfCl4 is particularly favored at temperatures above about 300° C. over the reaction of PCl5 +HfO2 to form POCl3+HfCl. Enthalpy changes (delta H) are also favorable for such reactions of PCl5+HfO2. In the reactions of PCl5+HfO2, etching can be limited by modulating the temperature or the partial pressure of HfCl4 can be used to control the etch rate and/or limit the etch thickness. Tables 5 and 6 show the driving force for these reactions from 100 to 500° C.


TABLE 6
PCl5(g) + 0.5HfO2 = POCl3(g) +
0.5HfCl4 (s)
T
deltaH
deltaS
deltaG
C.
kJ
J/K
kJ
100.0
−137.0
25.9
−146.6
150.0
−137.0
25.9
−147.9
200.0
−137.0
25.9
−149.2
250.0
−137.0
25.8
−150.5
300.0
−137.0
25.8
−151.8
350.0
−137.0
25.8
−153.1
400.0
−137.0
25.8
−154.4
450.0
−137.0
25.8
−155.7
500.0
−137.0
25.8
−156.9


TABLE 5
PCl5(g) + 0.5HfO2 = POCl3(g) +
0.5HfCl4 (g)
T
deltaH
deltaS
deltaG
C.
kJ
J/K
kJ
100.0
−84.7
115.8
−127.9
150.0
−85.2
114.4
−133.6
200.0
−85.8
113.1
−139.3
250.0
−86.4
111.9
−144.9
300.0
−87.0
110.8
−150.5
350.0
−87.6
109.8
−156.0
400.0
−88.2
108.9
−161.5
450.0
−88.8
108.0
−166.9
500.0
−89.4
107.2
−172.3

FIG. 5 is a graph , illustrating another embodiment that uses PCl3. FIG. 5 shows the free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reactions (i) PCl3(g)+0.75 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(g)+0.75 HfCl4(s), whose free energy as shown by the dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of 55 kJ/mol PCl3, and (ii) PCl3(g)+0.75 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(l)+0.75 HfCl4(s), whose free energy as shown by the solid line including a 0° C. free energy of −146 kJ/mol PCl3.

The data shown in FIG. 5 show that the etching process can be carried out according to reaction (ii), with liquid P2O3 being formed on the surface undergoing etching. Such liquid P2O3 can be left on the surface, and thereafter be removed by flowing a mixture of HCl and Cl2 over the surface in a clean-off step.

FIG. 6 is a graph of free energy change Δg, in kJ/mol etch gas, as a function of temperature, in degrees Centigrade, for the reactions of P2O3(l)+X(g), wherein: (i) X=HCl(g), whose free energy as shown by the dashed line including a 0° C. free energy of 61 kJ/mol etch gas; (ii) X=Cl2(g), whose free energy as shown by the solid line including a 0° C. free energy of 10 kJ/mol etch gas; and (iii) X=Cl2(g)+HCl(g), whose free energy as shown by the dotted line including a 0° C. free energy of −3 kJ/mol etch gas.

According to an embodiment of the disclosure, the data shown in FIG. 6 indicate that a Cl2(g)+HCl(g)mixture will be most effective at clearing a passive layer of P2O3(l) on the substrate.

The thermodynamic driving force for this first half reaction is shown in Table 6, whereas the thermodynamic driving force for the second half of the reaction is shown in Table 7.


TABLE 6
PCl3(g) + 0.75HfO2 = 0.5
P203(I) + 0.75 HfCl4(s)
T
deltaH
deltaS
deltaG
C.
kJ
J/K
kJ
100.0
−180.7
−132.4
−131.3
150.0
−178.7
−127.3
−124.8
200.0
−176.8
−123.1
−118.5
250.0
−174.9
−119.4
−112.5
300.0
−173.1
−116.1
−106.6
350.0
−171.4
−113.3
−100.8
400.0
−169.8
−110.7
−95.3
450.0
−168.1
−108.3
−89.8
500.0
−166.5
−106.2
−84.4


TABLE 7
0.5 P203(I) + HCl(g) + Cl2(g) =
POCl3(g) + 0.5 H2O(g)
T
deltaH
deltaS
deltaG
C.
kJ
J/K
kJ
100
−25.9
−69.4
0.0
150
−27.3
−72.9
1.8
200
−28.6
−75.7
3.6
250
−29.8
−78.1
5.6
300
−30.9
−80.2
7.5
350
−31.9
−81.9
9.6
400
−32.9
−83.5
11.6
450
−33.9
−84.9
13.7
500
−34.8
−86.1
15.9

According to the embodiments of the disclosure, with negative enthalpy, the second half reaction will be driven forward by keeping the pressures of HCl and Cl2 significantly higher than the byproduct POCl3 and H2O vapors.

In considering FIGS. 4 and 6, it is seen that the most stable reaction is PCl5(g)+0.5 HfO2(s)→POCl3(g)+0.5 HfCl4(g). When such reaction is carried out at lower temperature where HfCl4 is a solid, the reaction can be conducted at sufficiently fast rate to be self-limiting in character. Additionally, when the etch reaction producing P2O3 with O2 evolution is carried out at kinetically favorable conditions, self-limiting etch processing is achieved.

In respect of FIGS. 5 and 6, when PCl3 is used as an etchant, then P2O3(l) will have low volatility over the entire temperature range, and a self-limiting process can be utilized with a reset (clean-off step) utilizing chlorine (Cl2).

Accordingly, the disclosure contemplates in one aspect a method of vapor phase etching of oxide material comprising at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material, the method comprising contacting the oxide material with an etching medium comprising at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, under conditions producing a removable fluid reaction product, and removing the removable fluid reaction product. In such method, the oxide material may comprise hafnia (HfO2), zirconia (ZrO2), or both of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), e.g., on a wafer, microelectronic device precursors structure, or other substrate.

In various embodiments, the above described method of the present disclosure may be carried out, wherein the contacting of the oxide material with the etching medium results in a self-limiting reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium.

In other embodiments, the above described method of the present disclosure may be carried out, as further comprising modulating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to control depth of etching of the oxide material by the etching medium. For example, the modulating may comprise at least one of (i) pressure swing modulation, (ii) temperature swing modulation, and (iii) modulation of partial pressure of hafnium chloride and/or zirconium chloride formed in the reaction of the oxide material with the etching medium.

The method of the present disclosure as variously described herein may be conducted so that the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium produces volatile oxychloride byproduct as at least part of the removable reaction product.

In various embodiments, the etching medium employed in the method of the present disclosure may comprise a tungsten chloride etchant, e.g., WCl6, W2Cl10, or both WCl6 and W2Cl10. For example, the above described method of the disclosure may be conducted, in which the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises the reaction WCl6+0.5 HfO2→WOCl4+0.5 HfCl4. Such reaction may for example be conducted at temperature in a range of from 150 to 200° C., or other suitable temperature range, and the reaction may for example be conducted at conditions limiting the etch depth of the vapor phase etching of the oxide material. The conditions limiting the etch depth of the vapor phase etching of the oxide material may for example comprise flowing HfCl4 vapor over the oxide material during the contacting of the oxide material with the etching medium. In various embodiments, the method of the present disclosure may be carried out, in which removing the removable fluid reaction product comprises volatilizing HfCl4, as the removable fluid reaction product, after terminating the reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, and the flowing of HfCl4 vapor over the oxide material.

Accordingly, the present disclosure contemplates various implementations, in which removing the removable fluid reaction product comprises volatilizing HfCl4, as the removable fluid reaction product. The vapor phase etching method may be carried out in particular embodiments, in which the reaction of the oxide material and etching medium is conducted at temperature at which HfCl4 produced by the reaction is retained on the oxide material in liquid form, and the removing comprises increasing temperature of the oxide material to volatilize the HfCl4 therefrom.

In other embodiments, the method of the present disclosure may be carried out, wherein the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises the reaction W2Cl10(g)+HfO2(s)=2 WOCl3(s)+HfCl4(g). The reaction conditions of such reaction may for example comprise conditions under which etching depth is limited by formation of WOCl3(s) as a reaction product. The method may further comprise removing the WOCl3(s) reaction product, e.g., in which removing the WOCl3(s) reaction product comprises reacting the WOCl3(s) reaction product with at least one of chlorine (Cl2) and HCl, to effect removal of the WOCl3(s) reaction product from the oxide material. Removing the WOCl3(s) reaction product may in various embodiments comprises reacting the WOCl3(s) reaction product with chlorine (Cl2), or with HCl, or with a mixture of chlorine (Cl2) and HCl.

In a further embodiment of the disclosure, to control the depth of the etching of the oxide material the reactions can be repeated to modulate between the W2Cl10 and the Cl2 or HCl in the etching medium.

In general, the etching medium in the broad practice of the vapor phase etching method of the present disclosure may be of any suitable type. In various embodiments, the etching medium comprises a tungsten chloride etchant, e.g., PCl5. The etching medium may be formulated so that the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium produces POCl3(g).

In specific embodiments, the method of the present disclosure may be carried out, as comprising modulating temperature in the reaction conditions to limit the vapor phase etching of the oxide material.

In a specific embodiment, the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises the reaction PCl5+0.5 HfO2→POCl3+0.5 HfCl4. In such embodiment, or otherwise in the practice of the method of the present disclosure, the method may comprise modulating partial pressure of HfCl4 in the reaction conditions to control the etch rate and/or to limit the etch thickness in the vapor phase etching of the oxide material.

In other implementations, the methodology ofthe present disclosure may encompass use of a tungsten chloride etchant comprising PCl3, e.g., in which the reaction of the oxide material and etching medium involves the reaction PCl3(g)+0.75 HfO2(s)=0.5 P2O3(l)+0.75 HfCl4(s). In still other aspects, the method of the present disclosure may be carried out, in which the reaction of the oxide material and etching medium is conducted at temperature at which P2O3 produced by the reaction is retained on the oxide material in liquid form, and the removing comprises flowing at least one of HCl and Cl2 over the oxide material to remove P2O3 therefrom. For example, the removing may include flowing a mixture of HCl and Cl2 over the oxide material to remove P2O3 therefrom.

In a further embodiment of the disclosure, to control the depth of the etching of the oxide material the reactions can be repeated to modulate between the PCl3 and the Cl2 or HCl in the etching medium.

In other implementations, the method of the present disclosure may be carried out, in which the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium comprises the reaction PCl5(g)+0.5 HfO2(s)→POCl3(g)+0.5 HfCl4(g).

In still other implementations, the method of the present disclosure may be carried out, wherein the reaction of the oxide material in the etching medium also produces a non-fluid reaction product. The non-fluid reaction product may for example comprise a solid reaction product that accumulates on the oxide material and causes the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to be self-limiting in character. The solid reaction product in such methodology may comprise HfCl4.

The disclosure also contemplates implementations of the vapor phase etching method of the present disclosure in which the removable fluid reaction product comprises P2O3 and the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium is conducted so that P2O3(l) accumulates on the oxide material and causes the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to be self-limiting in character. The methodology may in specific embodiments comprise removing the accumulated P2O3(l) from the oxide material by contacting the accumulated P2O3(l) with at least one of HCl and Cl2.

The above described method of the present disclosure may also be conducted, in which the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium produces, in addition to the removable fluid reaction product, a solid reaction product that accumulates on the oxide material and causes the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium to be self-limiting in character. Such method may in specific applications further comprise removing the accumulated solid reaction product from the oxide material. The removal of the accumulated solid reaction product from the oxide material may for example be carried out by reacting the accumulated solid reaction product with a removingly effective chemical reactant. The removingly effective chemical reactant may be of any suitable type, and may for example comprise at least one of HCl and Cl2.

The disclosure in another aspect relates to a method of vapor phase etching of oxide material comprising at least one of hafnia (HfO2) and zirconia (ZrO2), in the absence of plasma exposure of the oxide material, the method comprising contacting the oxide material with an etching medium comprising at least one of phosphorus chloride and tungsten chloride to effect reaction of the oxide material and etching medium, under conditions producing a liquid and/or solid reaction product that limits etching rate and/or etching depth of the oxide material in the vapor phase etching thereof, terminating the reaction of the oxide material and the etching medium, and removing the liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material.

In such vapor phase etching method, the removal of the liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material may comprise volatilizing the liquid reaction product. Additionally, or alternatively, the removal of liquid and/or solid reaction product from the oxide material may comprise reacting the liquid and/or solid reaction product with a removingly effective chemical reactant, e.g., a removingly effective chemical reactant that is reacted with the liquid and/or solid reaction product to produce a gaseous or vapor reaction product. The removingly effective chemical reactant in specific embodiments may be of any suitable type, and may for example comprise at least one of HCl and Cl2.

It will therefore be appreciated that vapor phase etching of hafnia and/or zirconia materials may be carried out in accordance with the present disclosure in an effective and cost-efficient manner, which moreover avoids the need for ionization and plasma generation equipment, avoids plasma damage to devices, and which is effective for precision formation of hafnia and zirconia films in semiconductor device and other applications.

Accordingly, while the disclosure has been set out herein in reference to specific aspects, features and illustrative embodiments, it will be appreciated that the utility of the disclosure is not thus limited, but rather extends to and encompasses numerous other variations, modifications and alternative embodiments, as will suggest themselves to those of ordinary skill in the field of the present disclosure, based on the description herein. Correspondingly, the invention as hereinafter claimed is intended to be broadly construed and interpreted, as including all such variations, modifications and alternative embodiments, within its spirit and scope.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Methods for etching via atomic layer deposition (ALD) cycles APPLIED MATERIALS, INC. 20 May 2015 22 September 2016
Etching high-k materials ASM AMERICA, INC. 20 October 2008 22 April 2010
Vapor phase etching of hafnia and zirconia ENTEGRIS, INC. 02 June 2017 07 December 2017
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US10002772 Vapor phase etching hafnia 1 US10002772 Vapor phase etching hafnia 2 US10002772 Vapor phase etching hafnia 3