Maximizing tool uptime and process stability through an RF system upgrade Brent Rosecrans and Gil P. Dorcey, Like most fabs, the 150-mm wafer facility run by Agilent Technologies in Fort Collins, CO, has limited toolset capacity to manufacture its high-mix product line of CMOS and gallium arsenide products. Therefore, each tool must be reliable and function at its rated capacity to avoid bottlenecks that can ultimately limit the output of the entire fab. This article describes a successful effort by Agilent personnel to improve the performance of the fab's plasma etchers, which had been experiencing excessive downtime as a result of faulty radio-frequency (RF) subsystems. Agilent uses the 590 plasma etcher from Lam Research (Fremont, CA) to etch the final nitride passivation layer. Although not a particularly demanding process, nitride passivation etch requires that the plasma tool process each wafer correctly. In addition, the passivation processing module has very tight wafer output scheduling to meet customer shipments, requiring that the tool achieve the highest uptime rates possible. Since the nitride passivation etch step is a back-end-of-line process, there is no way to make up for time lost because of tool downtime. For some time, Agilent's RF subsystems were malfunctioning: either they were causing the plasma sporadically to not ignite or the matching network was unable to match the plasma impedance correctly
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Topics of Interest
Michael Bonner, formerly of Advanced Energy Industries; and Don Nowakowski, IBM Microelectronics igh-density plasma chemical vapor deposition (HDPCVD) process tools are used to deposit intermetal and...
and Arwa S. Ginwalla, A technique based on instrumented wafers provides useful data for addressing day-to-day temperature-related concerns in a production fab. ecause of its effects on device...
Robert Chong and Kevin Lensing, Over the last three years, FASL, a joint venture between Fujitsu (Tokyo) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD; Sunnyvale, CA), has pursued an aggressive technology roadmap...
While PM minimizes unscheduled tool downtime, smooths scheduling, improves yields, and extends the intervals between servicing, it must be balanced against the high cost of shutting equipment down.
Sreedhar Gaddam and Martin W. Braun, which is used to define active areas and to separate device elements in ICs, is critical for the proper functioning of transistors. The STI etch process is used to...