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Corial adds atomic scale etching to ICP-RIE system

COSMA Pulse software enables precision etching at a rate of 1.675 nm/minute

Corial, a French supplier of etch and deposition equipment, has announced atomic layer etching (ALE) capability on its inductively coupled plasma reactive-ion etching (ICP-RIE) equipment systems intended for advanced integrated circuit development.

"Corial has demonstrated atomic scale precision etching of silicon with a rate of 1.675 nm/min," said Andrei Uvarov, R&D manager at Corial. "It was enabled by COSMA Pulse, our unique software capable to control and pulse any process parameter (such as gas flow rate, RF and ICP power, working pressure, and so on), with a minimum pulsation period of 50ms. COSMA Pulse can be easily installed on Corial 210IL 200 mm etch systems allowing for ALE capability on our conventional ICP-RIE tools".

Conventional continuous etch processes no longer have the level of control that is needed when CDs approach the single digit nm scale, according to the company. To continue technology scaling in logic circuits and memory devices, atomic-level precision manufacturing is now required by chip makers and academics to provide control of surface structure at nanometer scale, ultra-high etch selectivity and low damage. 

In the past few years, ALE has emerged as a promising technology to address these manufacturing challenges.

Chip manufacturing in advanced nodes requires ALE process of various materials including silicon, dielectrics and compound semiconductors. To this date, ALE has been demonstrated by academics and industrials on over 20 materials.

In advanced FETs, atomic scale precision in etching newly introduced gate dielectric materials such as Al2O3, HfO2, or TiO2 is required for gate patterning. High precision nitride spacer etch is another application of dielectrics ALE in advanced transistors technology as etch selectivity is a key requirement to maintain gate and fin profile and to minimise substrate recess.

For HEMT technology based on compound III-V materials, ALE is gaining interest in the industry to maintain surface stoichiometry, to provide ultra-high selectivity, and smooth surface for barrier and gate recess processes.

"Corial 210IL etch system equipped with COSMA Pulse provides a level of precision required to pattern structures at the atomic scale," Andrei Uvarov said. "We expect fast adoption of COSMA Pulse by academics for research aiming at advanced devices manufacturing as Corial is the first company to offer larger functionalities - from continuous to pulsed processing - in one tool, and for a reasonable budget".

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