Achieving High Rates and High Uniformity in Copper Chemical Mechanical Polishing

  • Author / Creator
    Nolan, Lucy M
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Materials
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Thundat, Thomas (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Babu, S. V. (Clarkson University)
    • Sanders, Sean (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Barlage, Douglas (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    • Xu, Zhenghe (Chemical and Materials Engineering)