Sensitivity Enhancement of RF Plasma Etch Endpoint Detection With K-means Cluster Analysis

  • Lee, Honyoung (School of Semiconductor and Display Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)) ;
  • Jang, Haegyu (SKKU Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)) ;
  • Lee, Hak-Seung (School of Chemical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)) ;
  • Chae, Heeyeop (SKKU Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU))
  • Published : 2015.08.24


Plasma etch endpoint detection (EPD) of SiO2 and PR layer is demonstrated by plasma impedance monitoring in this work. Plasma etching process is the core process for making fine pattern devices in semiconductor fabrication, and the etching endpoint detection is one of the essential FDC (Fault Detection and Classification) for yield management and mass production. In general, Optical emission spectrocopy (OES) has been used to detect endpoint because OES can be a simple, non-invasive and real-time plasma monitoring tool. In OES, the trend of a few sensitive wavelengths is traced. However, in case of small-open area etch endpoint detection (ex. contact etch), it is at the boundary of the detection limit because of weak signal intensities of reaction reactants and products. Furthemore, the various materials covering the wafer such as photoresist (PR), dielectric materials, and metals make the analysis of OES signals complicated. In this study, full spectra of optical emission signals were collected and the data were analyzed by a data-mining approach, modified K-means cluster analysis. The K-means cluster analysis is modified suitably to analyze a thousand of wavelength variables from OES. This technique can improve the sensitivity of EPD for small area oxide layer etching processes: about 1.0 % oxide area. This technique is expected to be applied to various plasma monitoring applications including fault detections as well as EPD.