Eco-Snow Systems, IMEC Team on Photoresist, Particle Removal Technology

Eco-Snow Systems, the leading supplier of dry, carbon dioxide (CO2)-based wafer cleaning tools and process, has formed a joint development program with Belgian nanoelectronics research center IMEC to develop and study photoresist and particle removal processes using CO2-based cryogenic cleaning systems.

Eco-Snow is an affiliate of The BOC Group, plc, which Linde AG acquired in 2006 and which is now known globally as The Linde Group, one of the world’s leading engineering and industrial gases companies. IMEC is Europe’s leading independent nanoelectronics research institute offering joint R&D programs 3 to 10 years ahead of industrial needs.

Eco-Snow and IMEC will assess the effectiveness of solid aerosol cleaning in conjunction with solvent-based, non-oxidizing wet chemistries in removing ion-implanted photoresist and post low-k etch resist in front- and back-end-of-line integrated device manufacturing process.

“This joint development program gives Eco-Snow a unique opportunity to develop and validate the effectiveness of removing ion-implant and low-k etch resist by combining CO2 solid aerosol-based processes with the non-oxidizing, solvent chemistries IMEC is studying. It is particularly timely, as wafer manufacturers look for methods of removing ion-implanted photoresist with minimal silicon consumption and attack to transistor metal gates – a key concern in manufacturing of complementary metal oxide semiconductor-based devices,” said Souvik Banerjee, director of technology, Eco-Snow.

Successful electronic devices depend on the removal of photoresist and nanometer-sized particles several times during the manufacturing process.

Joe Clark, general manager, Eco-Snow Systems, said, “Eco-Snow’s solid CO2-based aerosol process is a key step in several manufacturing processes such as photomask, MRAM, MEMS, compound semiconductor based devices, and back-end assemblies such as imaging devices. We intend to bring the success of this technology to silicon semiconductor-based device manufacturing; the partnership with IMEC is a key step in that direction.”

Paul Mertens, manager of IMEC’s cleaning research program, said, “To reduce substrate loss and minimize potential damage, IMEC is investigating the feasibility of plasma-free removal of photoresist that is hardened by processes such as ion implantation. First tests have indicated that the use of Eco-Snow’s CO2-based aerosol treatment prior to a wet photoresist strip has proven to significantly enhance the efficiency of photoresist removal. In its advanced cleaning research program, IMEC intends to further explore and optimize the performance of such a CO2-based aerosol pretreatment in close collaboration with Eco-Snow.”

Experts from IBM, IMEC and Eco-Snow have co-authored a paper titled “Post ion-implant photoresist removal for front-end-of-line,” which they will present at the Electrochemical Society’s 212th meeting in Washington, DC, in October.

The Linde Group is a world leading industrial gases and engineering group of companies with 49,000 employees working in around 70 countries worldwide. Following the acquisition of The BOC Group, the 1 Sept 2006, the group has gases and engineering sales of approximately 12 billion euros. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards forward-looking products and services.