J. Micro/Nanolithogr. MEMS MOEMS

Development of TiO2 containing hardmasks through plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition

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With the increasing prevalence of complex device integration schemes, trilayer patterning with a solvent strippable hardmask can have a variety of applications. Spin-on metal hardmasks have been the key enabler for selective removal through wet strip when active areas need to be protected from dry etch damage. As spin-on metal hardmasks require a dedicated track to prevent metal contamination and are limited in their ability to scale down thickness without compromising on defectivity, there has been a need for a deposited hardmask solution. Modulation of film composition through deposition conditions enables a method to create TiO2 films with wet etch tunability. This paper presents a systematic study on development and characterization of plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposited (PEALD) TiO2-based hardmasks for patterning applications. We demonstrate lithographic process window, pattern profile, and defectivity evaluation for a trilayer scheme patterned with PEALD-based TiO2 hardmask and its performance under dry and wet strip conditions. Comparable structural and electrical performance is shown for a deposited versus a spin-on metal hardmask.