Advancing Microelectronics
Conference paper

An Evaluation of Bath Life Effects on Photoresist Removal for Wafer Level Packaging

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With the emergence of 3D integration and wafer level packaging, the pillar bumping process has become a critical processing step. As the process has matured, significant efforts have been made for optimization in terms of both production and cost. This is especially true for photoresist stripping, since thick photoresists are needed to pattern high aspect ratios and must be removed in subsequent steps to expose underlying metal films. In this study, the removal of a thick negative tone photoresist with solder pillar plated wafers were investigated using a dimethyl sulfoxide blend with a quaternary ammonium hydroxide. Emphasis was placed on exploring the feasibility of an extended bath life beyond 7 days. Coupon level beaker tests were used to provide insight into the swelling and dissolution mechanisms with fresh and aged chemistry. Additionally, several chemistries were compared to examine the effect of the quaternary ammonium hydroxide. Based on these findings, chemical aging studies were performed on 300 mm wafers using a highly customizable single wafer processing tool that combined soaking and a high-pressure spray processing to potentially prolong the bath age even further. In addition to stripping efficiency at extended bath life, the compatibly with pillar structures and seed layers is investigated. Results from the study highlight potential methods to extend bath life while maintaining photoresist stripping efficiency.