Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B:Nanotechnology and Microelectronics

Impact of low-k structure and porosity on etch processes

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The fabrication of interconnects in integrated circuits requires the use of porous low dielectric constant materials that are unfortunately very sensitive to plasma processes. In this paper, the authors investigate the etch mechanism in fluorocarbon-based plasmas of oxycarbosilane (OCS) copolymer films with varying porosity and dielectric constants. They show that the etch behavior does not depend on the material structure that is disrupted by the ion bombardment during the etch process. The smaller pore size and increased carbon content of the OCS copolymer films minimize plasma-induced damage and prevent the etch stop phenomenon. These superior mechanical properties make OCS copolymer films promising candidates for replacing current low-k dielectric materials in future generation devices. © 2013 American Vacuum Society.