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Achieving High Rates and High Uniformity in Copper Chemical Mechanical Polishing Open Access


Other title
Chemical Mechanical Planarization
Chemical Mechanical Polishing
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Nolan, Lucy M
Supervisor and department
Cadien, Kenneth C. (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Babu, S. V. (Clarkson University)
Thundat, Thomas (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Sanders, Sean (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Barlage, Douglas (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Xu, Zhenghe (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The chemical mechanical polishing of Copper (Cu-CMP) is a complex and poorly understood process. Despite this, it is widely used throughout the semiconductor and microelectronics industries, and makes up a significant portion of wafer processing costs. In these contexts, desirable polishing outcomes such as a high rate of removal from the copper surface, and high removal rate uniformity, are achieved largely by trial-and-error. In this study, the same outcomes are pursued through a systematic investigation of polishing lubrication characteristics and abrasive and oxidiser concentrations in the polishing slurry. A strong link between lubrication characteristics, quantified by the dimensionless Sommerfield number, and the uniformity of polishing is demonstrated. A mechanism for the observed relationship is proposed, based on an adaptation of hydrodynamic lubrication theory. The overall rate of removal is maximised by polishing in a slurry containing oxidiser and abrasives in a synergistic ratio. Polishing away from this ratio has additional effects on the overall quality of the surface produced. Transport of slurry across the polishing pad is investigated by using tracers; the results demonstrate that slurry usage can be reduced in many circumstances with no impact on overall polishing outcomes, reducing overall processing costs. These findings are combined to design a polishing process, with good results.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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