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Proceedings Paper

Contamination control methods for gases used in the microlithography process
Author(s): Larry Rabellino; Chuck Applegarth; Giorgio Vergani
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Paper Abstract

Sensitivity to contamination continues to increase as the technology shrinks from 365 nm I-line lamp illumination to 13.4 nm Extreme Ultraviolet laser activated plasma. Gas borne impurities can be readily distributed within the system, remaining both suspended in the gas and attached to critical surfaces. Effects from a variety of contamination, some well characterized and others not, remain a continuing obstacle for stepper manufacturers and users. Impurities like oxygen, moisture and hydrocarbons in parts per billion levels can absorb light, reducing the light intensity and subsequently reducing the consistence of the process. Moisture, sulfur compounds, ammonia, acid compounds and organic compounds such as hydrocarbons can deposit on lens or mirror surfaces affecting image quality. Regular lens replacement or removal for cleaning is a costly option and in-situ cleaning processes must be carefully managed to avoid recontamination of the system. The contamination can come from outside the controlled environment (local gas supply, piping system, & leaks), or from the materials moving into the controlled environment; or contamination may be generated inside the controlled environment as a result of the process itself. The release of amines can occur as a result of the degassing of the photo-resists. For the manufacturer and user of stepper equipment, the challenge is not in predictable contamination, but the variable or unpredictable contamination in the process. One type of unpredictable contamination may be variation in the environmental conditions when producing the nitrogen gas and Clean Dry Air (CDA). Variation in the CDA, nitrogen and xenon may range from parts per billion to parts per million. The risk due to uncontrolled or unmonitored variation in gas quality can be directly related to product defects. Global location can significantly affect the gas quality, due to the ambient air quality (for nitrogen and CDA), production methods, gas handling equipment maintenance, transportation and storage processes. Fortunately, technology has been developed which can remove the killer impurities from these processes. This paper will review processes, and purification media that can be used in the photolithography processes, and detail the advances in purification technologies for removal of hydrocarbons, oxygen (where applicable), moisture, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, nitrogen (where applicable), sulfur compounds, ammonia and acid compounds from process gases such as nitrogen, CDA, argon, krypton and xenon.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 July 2002
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4689, Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XVI, (16 July 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.473525
Show Author Affiliations
Larry Rabellino, SAES Pure Gas, Inc. (United States)
Chuck Applegarth, SAES Pure Gas, Inc. (United States)
Giorgio Vergani, SAES Getters (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4689:
Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XVI
Daniel J. C. Herr, Editor(s)

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